Portman pours cold water on spiced rum gift pack promising ‘sexual success’

A spiced rum gift pack that included a sex toy and a copy of the Kama Sutra has been discontinued after a complaint against it was upheld by the alcohol industry’s Independent Complaints Panel, the Portman Group.

Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum and gift pack was found to have breached the industry Code rule 3.2(d) by creating a direct association between alcohol and sexual activity and success, and Code rule 3.2(j) by suggesting the product had therapeutic qualities which could change mood or behaviour.

The complaint against the gift pack, lodged by the Identity Drinks Brand, bluntly read: “This can’t be allowed? Sex toys with alcohol.”

The manufacturing company has since accepted the Panel’s findings regarding the Love Potion No.9 Gift Pack and confirmed it has been discontinued.

When assessing the back label of Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum, the Panel noted that it included text which read ‘Love Potion No.9 entice your pirate lover with shimmering lust dust’ and ‘a proven aphrodisiac… let the fireworks begin!’.

The Panel considered that referring to the drink as a means to entice a romantic partner, or as a substance alleged to increase sexual desire, created a direct association between the drink and sexual activity as well as sexual success.

The Panel considered that the product name Love Potion No. 9 alone suggested that consumption of the drink could change a person’s mood and behaviour by creating feelings of love and romance, and noted that the front label included a heart and cross image in the style of a skull and crossbones, combining the association of a warning and recognised medicinal logo.

With regard to the gift pack, the Panel considered that the inclusion of the Kama Sutra, a well-known book related to the depiction of sexual positions, and a sex toy in a gift pack with alcohol was wholly inappropriate under the Code, and concluded that the combination of items in the gift pack, in addition to the product packaging of Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum, created a direct association with sexual success and sexual activity. Accordingly, the complaint was upheld under Code rule 3.2(d).

Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, Rachel Childs, said: “It is wholly and unquestionably inappropriate for an alcohol product to come packaged with a copy of the Kama Sutra and a sex toy, which the Panel unanimously agreed creates a clear association with sexual success and activity.

“I welcome that the gift pack was removed from the market as part of the producer’s response, and that, through the Portman Group’s subsequent engagement with the producer, has now agreed to change both the name and packaging of Love Potion No.9 rum to reflect the decision of the Panel.

“It is absolutely vital that producers take into account the Code and ensure alcohol products don’t create any implication that they will assist consumers in sexual success. I would encourage any producers who may be unsure to contact our free and confidential Advisory Service.”