Diageo’s 20cl counter top promotion unit has been found to have breached marketing rules by the Portman Group, the responsibility body for UK drinks producers.

The group’s Independent Complaints Panel said it was concerned by the ambiguity of the ‘mix it up tonight’ message on the unit, which it concluded could encourage consumers to drinks several bottles in one sitting. As a result, the panel found that the promotion contravened Paragraph 3.2(f) of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcohol Drinks.

But a spokesman for Diageo said it disagreed with Portman’s view that the unit encouraged irresponsible or immoderate consumption.

“The unit clearly stated that each 20cl bottle contained eight drinks in each bottle and, we believe that this and the rest of the packaging encouraged responsible consumption by informing the consumer of the number of standard 25ml measures in each bottle and suggesting that they make mixed drinks to share,” he said.

“Whilst we respect the panel’s ruling, we had, in any event, already updated the unit for commercial reasons some months before we were notified of the complaint and we can reassure retailers that the current redesigned counter top unit is compliant with all codes and will remain in circulation.”

No action by Diageo is required because it had already redesigned the counter-top unit to omit the ‘mix it up tonight’ message before the complaint was made by Northampton borough licensing team.