Recently, there has been a lot of controversial talk around a certain whiskey brand about its origins and the direct translation of the name. Since it’s already the talk of the town, we don’t wish to bore you with the details but if you’re unaware, you can read more about it here.
In similar news, a Hong Kong distiller has to change the name of its product after it was deemed offensive by a panel that considers complaints about products.
Incognito Group Limited produces the gin, Fok Hing Gin. How’s that for a homonym?
The name was actually intended to pay homage to a street located in Causeway bay, Hong Kong. The inspiration from Fuk Hing Lane had to be changed to ‘Fok’ to avoid the similarities with a certain offensive word we’re all familiar with.
The Independent Complaints Panel upholds complaint against Fok Hing Gin for causing serious or widespread offence.
— Portman Group (@PortmanGroup) November 12, 2021
The conversation started when someone issued a complaint from a member of the public, who is also a licensing officer.
“The name of the product is clearly intended to shock and be pronounced as an offensive term,” the person making the complaint said.
“Personally I wouldn’t want to see this product on family supermarket shelves or being promoted in an environment where children have access – such as most social media sites.”
Incognito group is under scrutiny from the Portman Group, a trade body composed of alcoholic beverage producers and brewers in Britain.
SCMP reported that the complaint was made in relation to rule 3.3 – that a drink’s name, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not cause serious or widespread offence.
Chairwoman of the Independent Complaints Panel, Nicola Williams, said, “It is not appropriate for marketing materials to purposefully link a name to profanity and no responsible marketing should cause serious or widespread offence.”
Fok Hing Gin made a ballsy clapback with a post on their social media page. Check it out:
The Facebook post’s accompanying caption even revealed a special discount code to mark the occasion: ‘FOKHINGKARENS’ for 25 percent off in their UK store, which expires on November 14, 2021.
On their website, Fok Hing Gin says, “Hong Kong and Great Britain will forever be connected – not just in the history books, but now in gin too.”
“Distilled in Great Britain with the spirit of Hong Kong, let East meet West the next time you pour yourself a gin!”
Don’t worry, they’ve been well aware of the resemblance and are actually humouring it.
“Please drink FOK HING GIN responsibly. And order it carefully. Bartenders and shop assistants may miss-hear you when you ask for it by name,” the website writes as part of their origin story.
“And should they raise an eyebrow or, worse still, shoot you a killer look or even the dreaded finger, just calmly remind them that offence is never given, only taken. Then point to the bottle that bears our name and nod knowingly.”
As you can see, they never meant to offend anyone. Fok Hing Gin is actually an anagram of “Gin of Hong Kong,” which might seem almost too coincidental for clever word play, but the company advises you to “decide while you sip some.”
I say, Fok the haters and pour up!