It’s not news that cigarette companies and alcohol distributors often try to make their products appealing to children. But it’s rare to see children’s products that look like adult products to make the kids feel like they’re consuming adult products. Like this new Frozen bubbly drink that looks a heck of a lot like a champagne bottle. And to add to the debacle, the drink being sold in U.K. chain Home Bargains is marketed as “sophisticated” and “grown up.”
The product description maintains that the drink is non-alcoholic, but is designed to make kids feel “part of every celebration”:
While the drink is indeed non-alcoholic, that’s not really the issue at hand. The problem is the way that the drink is posing as champagne, with an insanely popular children’s movie printed on the label to sell the product. Basically, the drink could be an easy way to train kids to think drinking is without consequence, and is something “cool” before they really should have any opinion on what drinking is.
And parents are pretty miffed about it. Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland was outraged by the product and got a lot of people to support her cause. “Our children are already growing up surrounded by positive messages about drinking and this Disney product just adds to the perception that drinking is normal and risk-free. Alcohol marketing, whether direct or indirect, has no place in childhood.”
Through the stir that Douglas and her coalition have created, Disney became aware of the beverage, and was also unhappy with its marketing strategy. A Disney spokesperson released a statement about the beverage. “We have recently been made aware of the Vitpress Disney Frozen Non-Alcoholic Party Drink, a licensed product that originates in Poland. As we set very high standards for the quality of products bearing the Disney name and characters, we have informed the manufacturer that we will no longer license Disney images to a product that is packaged to look like alcohol.” Disney said that the beverage would no longer be produced by 2016.
However, the same thing could be argued for drinks like Martinelli’s sparkling juice, which also comes in a glass “champagne bottle.”
Despite the controversy that the drink is causing, Home Bargains stands by their decision to sell the beverage. As stated by Home Bargains’ Operations director Joe Morris, “The Frozen party drink is clearly labelled as a non-alcoholic soft drink. We are committed to ensuring that our alcoholic products are not sold to underage drinkers.” Home Bargains says the drink is meant to serve as a “grown-up alternative to juice and pop at parties.”
(Image via Twitter/Home Bargains)