news

Complaint upheld against Marks and Spencer’s Porn Star Martini drink

Marks and Spencer will rename its popular cocktail to Passion Star Martini.

An Independent Complaints Panel from The Portman Group has upheld a recent complaint about Marks & Spencer Group PLC’s Porn Star Martini.

The complainant, with the Portman Group acting in lieu of a member of the public, expressed concern that the product uses the word ‘Porn Star’ which links the alcoholic product to sexual success because ‘porn stars’ are idolised as people who have sexual success and are paid for doing so.

Marks and Spencer will rename its Porn Star Martini cocktail (pictured) to Passion Star Martini.

“Porn Star Martini is a common name for a passion fruit cocktail drink,” said a Marks & Spencer spokesperson. “Our product launched in September 2018 and quickly became one of our most popular cocktails. However, as a Portman Group co-signatory, we respect the ruling and will be changing the name to Passion Star Martini.”

Reviewing the product in detail, the panel believed that “even though there was nothing else on the packaging which created an association with sexual activity, the name ‘Porn Star Martini’ was enough of an association because of the established definition of a ‘porn star’ – an actor/actress famous for appearing in pornographic films which by their nature contained sexual activity.”

The panel also believed that “since other retailers and online cocktail recipes, including those on the BBC’s site, referred to this alcoholic cocktail by name as ‘Passion Fruit Martini’, M&S did not need to refer to the drink as ‘Porn Star Martini’.”

On this basis, the panel upheld the complaint against the product under Code Rule 3.2(d) – that no drink should, in any direct or indirect way, suggest any association with sexual activity. 

“This decision by the Independent Complaints Panel reminds producers that they should always steer away from using imagery or names that are associated with sexual activity in marketing and labelling,” a Portman Group spokesperson added. “Producers should think carefully about what is conveyed by the overall impression of the product and speak to our advisory service if in any doubt.

We are pleased that the Marks and Spencer Group have been working with us to amend the name of the product.”

Send this to a friend