Vodka for kids? Alarm over martini icy poles
CONCERNS about a vodka product's packaging being confused with popular children's icy poles have been referred to Victoria's liquor regulator.
Skinny Freezers came under fire for appealing to minors in a recent responsible alcohol marketing watchdog's ruling.
Adjudicators last month found the packaging for the brightly coloured vodka martini treats - which are sold in clear plastic and feature fruit images - breached the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code.
Skinny Freezers are each 0.6 standard alcoholic drinks. They can be bought online and at Victorian Costco stores, and are marketed on social media.
Jonny Zukanovic, spokesman for distributor Slim Chillers Australia, strongly denied underage drinkers were targeted.
A complaint to ABAC said the packaging was likely to be attractive to minors and create confusion with Zooper Dooper ice blocks.
Mr Zukanovic said Skinny Freezers were almost twice as wide and slightly longer than a Zooper Dooper, and the words Vodka Martini were prominent.
The company website had an 18-plus "age gate", and social media marketing was pitched at adults.
ABAC this week said Slim Chillers Australia had not responded to its ruling. Therefore, concerns had been referred to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
Earlier this year, the commission banned Slim Chillers from using two Facebook advertisements that were "likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol".
The recent ABAC determination noted "a reasonable person would likely draw a ready comparison of the packaging with that used on icy poles popular with children".
Terms such as lemonade and lemon were also commonly on children's soft drinks, it also said.
ABAC chair Harry Jenkins said alcohol packaging complaints had been trending upwards.
"The desire of some manufacturers to be creative is understandable, but they must have regard to wrongfully appealing to minors," he said.