ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Octopus Publishing Group
Octopus Publishing Group t/a
Godsfield Press Ltd
2-4 Heron Quays
19 October 2005
Objection to a magazine advertisement for a crystal healing pack. The headline stated "discover the healing power of crystals". Text in the second of five bullet points on the left of the ad stated "The Crystal Healing Pack includes a paperback book and 12 high quality, polished crystals that heal, protect, energize and soothe". The complainant challenged the efficacy of crystals.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
Godsfield Press Ltd said the ad was not targeted at consumers and was intended for use only in "Mind, Body & Spirit", which was a special feature in The Bookseller Magazine, a trade magazine for book sellers. They said "Mind, Body & Spirit" dealt specifically with books of that genre and readers would be aware of books about crystals and the claims made for crystals. They sent an article from the British Complementary Medicine Association to substantiate the claims, but acknowledged that there was no scientific basis for the claims. They said the ad would not run again.
We noted the ad appeared in a special feature targeted at book sellers. However, we considered that the claims in the ad were health claims that required substantiation with scientific evidence. We pointed out that, because the article sent by Godsfield Press Ltd was not peer-reviewed scientific research, it did not substantiate the claims. We concluded that, because Godsfield Press Ltd had not substantiated the claims, the ad was misleading. We advised Godsfield Press Ltd to seek assistance from the CAP Copy Advice team before advertising in future.
The ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 6.1 (Honesty), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 50.1 (Health & Beauty Products and Therapies).