CAMRA disappointed as Naked Ladies complaint thrown out

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Complaint not upheld: The Portman Group's panel says the design is based on a local landmark
Complaint not upheld: The Portman Group's panel says the design is based on a local landmark

Related tags Camra Portman group Beer Legislation

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is “disappointed” a complaint about the pump clip used for Twickenham Brewery’s Naked Ladies beer has not been upheld.

The Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) received a complaint from a member of the public stating the name, branding and design of the pump clip were inappropriately sexualised and could cause offence and embarrassment for customers and staff when ordering the product in a pub or bar, under Code rule 3.3 – causing serious or widespread offence.

The ICP discussed the product’s name and noted Twickenham Brewery’s submission that the beer was one of several it has named after local landmarks, in this case a well-known and colloquial term used to describe a group of statues in Twickenham.

It added the packaging and company website incorporated descriptive language designed to explain the historical context of the statue, and while limited space on the pump clip didn’t include this – the reference of Twickenham in the company’s name did provide some context.

To breach the rule in relation to sexual objectification, the packaging or marketing would need to incorporate elements that were demeaning, derogatory, gratuitous or overly sexualised, the ICP said and considered the design was “artistically stylised” and “akin to art deco” with “no identifying detail added to any of the statue’s features or undue focus on its pelvic or breast area”.

Did not fall foul

ICP chair Rachel Childs said: “It’s vitally important under the code that producers ensure their products do not cause serious or widespread offence and in relation to sexual objectification, that they don’t incorporate elements which are demeaning, derogatory, gratuitous or overly sexualised. In this case, the panel concluded the overall impression of the Naked Ladies pump clip did not fall foul of the code and did not uphold the complaint.”

However, CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said: “We are disappointed the ICP did not uphold the complaint from a member of the public.

“The beer in question was removed from eligibility for inclusion in our Champion Beer of Britain Competition in 2022, following complaints from members of the public.

“Our volunteer committees have upheld that decision and we are proud to have robust policies and practical guidance for our volunteers on the naming and marketing of beers and ciders, and whether products should be eligible for our highest accolades or on sale at our festivals.

“Our policies are unashamedly consumer focused and include the environment that product names and marketing – including pump clips – can create for bar staff, volunteers at our festivals and members of the public enjoying the licensed trade.”

Fair and reasonable

Antona continued: “We also require brewers, cider-makers and other vendors at our festivals to refrain from using discriminatory marketing at CAMRA events, as covered in our Festival Code of Conduct.

“Beer and cider are for everyone, and we want everyone to feel welcome at CAMRA festivals and in their locals. For CAMRA, that means making sure that products on sale do not invite inappropriate or exclusionary behaviour or comments.”

Portman Group CEO Matt Lambert responded: “Our code of practice protects against alcohol marketing that causes serious or widespread offence and stipulates products and their marketing should not include elements that are demeaning, derogatory, gratuitous or overly sexualised.

“In 2019, the code was updated to include this rule on serious and widespread offence in order to reflect changing attitudes in society and strengthen protection against discriminatory marketing, which aligns with other regulatory bodies.

“We accept CAMRA has taken a different position on this product, however, we are clear that the decision of the ICP is both fair and reasonable.”

Related topics Legislation

Related news

Show more