Amstel Lite, SA’s newest player in the light beer market, has three months to change the appearance of its beer cans and six-pack wrapping.
The ruling which was issued last week follows a complaint laid by Castle Lite manufacturer South African Breweries (SAB) who cried foul over Amstel Lite’s use of green and silver in its packaging which it argued looked “almost identical to the signature combination in the Castle Lite packaging”, Business Day reports.
Interestingly, the local packaging of the low alcohol beer differs significantly from global branding and packaging in the US and in Europe where the beer packaging colour combination is brown, gold and red and bottles and cans are branded Amstel Light and not Amstel Lite as it is in SA.
In arguing against the complaint, local manufacturers of Amstel Lager Brandhouse Beverages maintained that SAB had no right to claim exclusivity over the use of the green and silver combination citing, among others, Heineken Light, Windhoek Light and Corona Light as examples of international beer brands that used the colour combination in its light beer packaging.
ASA did not agree that the combination was used as prevalently as Brandhouse claimed stating: “The only light beer that uses a colour combination of silver and green is Heineken Light which is sold in a silver and green can.”
SAB also took issue with the way ‘lite’ is spelt on Amstel’s packing arguing that the decision to go with ‘lite’ over light served to “render the products indistinguishable in trade.”
The advertising watchdog sided with the brewery saying that Castle had, for more than 20 years, used the word ‘lite’ exclusively and as such, “the use of similar elements by Amstel Lite has effectively done away with the uniqueness of these features on the Castle Lite packaging, the newspaper reports.
SAB had wanted the ASA to force Brandhouse Beverages to withdraw the current Amstel Lite packaging within a week, but the request was ruled impractical.
Brandhouse Beverages now has to decide whether it will appeal the ruling.
“We are disappointed by the ruling. We are however still considering the ASA ruling and our options,” Brandhouse corporate relations director Michael Mabasa was quoted saying.
Source: Destiny Man