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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
Alcopop boycott urged
Alcopops are still very popular
Shops have been told not to stock a new "aphrodisiac" alcopop dubbed "Viagra pop" by campaigners.

The makers of vodka-based Roxxoff claim it boosts sexual performance, but the drink has fallen foul of the industry's own watchdog.

The website for the drink, which speaks of "herbal libido boosters" and of creating a "race of randy super beings", has also been attacked.

The Portman Group, a body funded by the drinks industry, decided Roxxoff's name was a play on the phase to "get your rocks off" and had "clear sexual connotations".

It decided to order retailers not to stock it after a series of complaints, including one from Guinness owner Diageo.

But the Surrey-based firm behind the controversial drink - Yours Alternatively - have said they will launch Roxxoff as planned next week and insisted it was only ever intended to be sold in pubs and clubs.

The Portman Group is an old boys' club and a collection of puppets
Chris Williams
Yours Alternatively
In a separate decision, the Portman Group also criticised garishly-coloured alcopop WKD for the content on its website.

It featured an interactive "breast-matching" game, pole-dancing and risqué electronic postcards.

The panel said the site associated the drink with sexual performance and was likely to appeal to under 18-year-olds.

'Double first'

The complaints were received under the Portman Group's Code of Practice - set up to govern the advertising and marketing of alcoholic drinks in the UK.

Jean Coussins, chief executive of the Portman Group, said: "This is a double first for the code.

"Not only is this the first time that websites have been found in breach, but in the case of Roxxoff it is also the first time that retailers have been told they should not stock the product before it has even officially been launched.

"When Roxxoff was first promoted, people were concerned that so-called 'Viagra pops' would flood the drinks market."

Chris Williams, marketing manager for Yours Alternatively, said: "I think the Portman Group is an old boys' club and a collection of puppets.

"It is quite laughable that they are trying to protect the commercial status of their members while at the same time contributing to underage drinking by allowing other alcopop products to be sold in shops."

Alcohol Focus Scotland were among the campaigners to line up against Roxxoff and coined the "Viagra pop" label.

Dean Pallant, from the Salvation Army, which also complained, said: "We are very pleased that the Portman Group has been able to rightly exercise their influence and has worked to prevent a product going on the market which undoubtedly would have led to more unsafe sex."

Alcopops hit as real ale boosted
17 Apr 02  |  Business

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