Hard Solo to be renamed following ABAC review

Monday, 20 November, 2023

Hard Solo to be renamed following ABAC review

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) will change the name of its ready-to-drink (RTD) alcohol lemon beverage from Hard Solo to Hard Rated following the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme (ABAC) panel decision released on 16 November.

The ABAC Adjudication Panel (Panel) has determined that the packaging of the RTD alcohol beverage ‘Hard Solo’ has breached the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code (Code). The panel’s decision followed the receipt of multiple public complaints raising concerns that the brand name and can design of the product strongly appeals to minors.

Despite ABAC pre-vetting considering Hard Solo an appropriate product and consistent with the requirements of the Code, the ABAC panel’s final determination has found that the name Hard Solo breaches the Code standard [s3(b)(i) on strong or evident appeal to minors].

ABAC Panel Chair, Professor Michael Lavarch said, “Hard Solo was a novel case in that previous RTD packaging designs considered by ABAC had been built upon emphasising an alcohol type or a well-known alcohol brand being combined with a soft drink such as cola or ginger ale. Hard Solo packaging in contrast is led by the brand recognition of Solo soft drink. Because of the novel issue, the number of complaints spread over a month and the two-stage process for final decisions on brand names and packaging, the Panel determination was lengthy, and the process has taken several months to finalise. Most ABAC decisions are made within 30 days.”

While CUB said in a statement that it was disappointed by the outcome, the company has accepted the decision made by the ABAC panel. In accordance with the ABAC Rules, the company said it has ceased further orders for production of this packaging and will ensure the last Hard Solo can will exit the supply network by no later than 9 February 2024.

The new Hard Rated liquid will be identical to Hard Solo — the only difference will be the change to the name and packaging.

Image credit: iStock.com/JulijaDmitrijeva

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