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Collagin responds to watchdog’s calls for buyers to boycott its products

Published:  24 August, 2017

The owners of Young in Spirit, the producer of CollaGin, has hit out at The Portman Group for damaging its business after a Retailer Alert Bulletin was issued against its product.

Writing on the CollaGin Blog, one of the Young in Spirit owners Camilla Brown, said: “We are shocked and honestly gutted that today they took the first step to potentially, irrevocably hurt a start up company which has no power nor contacts to counteract such damning words.”

She also accused The Portman Group of failing to provide the “vital details” of how it had worked to adhere to the rules and asked why a “huge corporation” would want to do this to them.

“The ruling could be extremely detrimental to our brand and business, but at the end of the day Liz (Berwick) and I aren't going to bow down to corporate bullying,” she said.

The blog response came after The Portman Group issued an alert instructing supermarkets, off-licences, convenience stores and other alcohol retailers not to place orders for CollaGin, in its current packaging after 29 October 2017.

The Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) said the product made therapeutic claims and the packaging contained several references to the beneficial effects of the active ingredient ‘collagen’ including ‘the elixir of youth’, ‘Skin & Tonic’ and ‘beauty drink’. It concluded that it should not appear on the product label in its current form.

The secretary of the ICP has responded to the accusations.

“The Code rules are not here to stifle creativity, innovative brands are one of the UK’s great success stories. However, it’s vital that producers understand the codes, which govern alcohol marketing; these rules exist so that they cannot make therapeutic claims about alcohol and we have explained this to the company,” said Kay Perry.

“The Portman Group’s free Advisory Service exists to help producers interpret the rules. The company did contact the Advisory Service about this product, but they chose not to take that advice on board. We would urge the producers to get in contact with the Advisory Service as soon as possible.”

The ruling was made after two members of the public complained about the use of phrases such as ‘the elixir of youth’ and ‘anti-aging botanicals’.

The ICP also noted that quotes from the company in media articles and on their own social media channels created an atmosphere in which the drink was being associated with beauty and anti-aging properties.

However, Young in Spirit said that ‘Skin & Tonic’ was not a health claim and did not imply a beauty claim. It also stated that ‘The Elixir of Youth’ was not a health claim and provided the definition: ‘The elixir of life, also known as elixir of immortality and sometimes equated with the philosopher’s stone, is a mythical potion and supposedly grants the drinker eternal life and/or youth.’

It also stated that stories about the product in the media were not based on the company’s press materials and were outside of its control.

They revealed that they were PR consultants and new to the industry and that they would like to work with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service to make changes to the product to bring it in line with the code.