The Advertising Standards Authority, the entity that regulates advertising in the UK, has found that an ad on MATV Punjabi which promised purchasers of a "Ganesh rudraksh pendant " that they would have good health and avoid bad luck is exploitative and breaches the advertising standards code. It also found that the manufacturer lacked scientific evidence to back up claims made in the ad.
The ASA ruled that
[T]he research "Beyond Entertainment" conducted by the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) and the Independent Television Commission (ITC) into The Acceptability Of Alternative Beliefs, Psychic And Occult Phenomena On Television in 2001 stated "Occult - Finally black magic, Ouija, Satanism, spells and voodoo were clearly classified as Occult by both participants and Experts. White magic spells were borderline. Most felt they were harmless and not to be taken seriously, but there was some recognition that they were about influence and, therefore, edging into dubious territory. The key issues associated with occult were negativity, dark forces, influence and control." The CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code prohibits advertising for products or services within the recognized character of the occult. We considered that the ad promoted a good luck charm; we concluded that the ad was for an unacceptable category.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 3.1 (i) (the occult) and 10. 3 (The occult, psychic practices and exorcism).
We considered that the claim anybody who wears Ganesh Rudraksh on their body, cannot be affected by bad Omen" exploited the superstitious. We concluded that the unsubstantiated claims and testimonies exploited vulnerable viewers.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 10.4 (Superstition) and 10.13 (Vulnerable viewers).
We considered that the website pages were inadequate to substantiate the claims and the testimonials. In the absence of clinically controlled trials prove the efficacy of the product we considered that the claims were misleading.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading), 5.2.1 (Evidence), 5.4.4 (Testimonials) <
Read the entire ruling here.
[Cross posted to Media Law Prof Blog].