ASA Adjudication on Tele Sky Shopping Ltd
22 April 2009
Number of complaints:
A 15-minute teleshopping presentation in Hindi for Ekta’s Karyasiddhi Graha Snati Dhoop (Aromatic Incense Sticks) promoted dhoops (the incense sticks), to light and burn to obtain benefits, such as fortune and peace of mind. The presenters, well-known Indian soap actors, spoke of Ekta Kapoor who had produced the product and introduced experts in the fields of tarot, feng shui and face reading who also promoted the dhoops. The experts and presenters provided responses to audience questions and made claims such as “It is a special dhoop which helps in maintaining peace in the house, and ensures the existence of Goddess Laxmi, or wealth, and is another way of remembering God" and "Ekta had experienced a vast improvement in her life by lighting a Grah Droop everyday. So she thought ... why not make a dhoop of her own … Today, along with us, you have learnt that by lighting the Graha Shanti dhoop, it is so easy to make your life much better."
Three viewers questioned whether the presentation was misleading, because it continuously implied that using the dhoops would bring success, good fortune and wealth.
BCAP TV Code
Clearcast said the burning of incense sticks was commonplace in many cultures, with the purpose of creating a more congenial atmosphere for spiritual or contemplative behaviour, such as meditation or prayer. They said any implied claims in the presentation relating to a favourable change of personal circumstances were clearly associated with spiritual or contemplative behaviour, rather than suggesting these changes were provided by the dhoops. They said the dhoops were a tool to aid positive thinking which in turn could lead to greater personal fulfilment. They added that the presentation was transmitted on a specialist channel where the audience had knowledge and experience of the dhoops and understood their role in meditation and prayer.
The advertiser did not provide any additional comments.
The ASA noted that the dhoops were intended for use as an aid to meditation or as part of a ritual and that the intended audience was likely to be familiar with that type of product. While we noted the presentation generally concerned the positive effects of the dhoops on the user's mental well-being and peace of mind, we noted the presentation included claims which also suggested the dhoops brought material gains such as fortune, wealth and personal success, for example "It is a special dhoop which ... ensures the existence of Goddess Laxmi, or wealth" and "Ekta had experienced a vast improvement in her life by lighting a Grah Droop everyday." We also noted that the ad used well-known people to promote the benefits of the product and that the creator, presenters and experts were all presented as very successful in their fields and lives. We considered that their endorsement of the dhoops suggested there was a direct connection between the effects of the dhoops and their personal success.
Because we considered the ad claimed the dhoops could directly affect users' personal circumstances by bringing them fortune, wealth and personal success, and because we had not seen evidence which substantiated those claims, we concluded the ad was misleading and could exploit vulnerable people.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1.1 (Misleading advertising), 5.2.1 (Evidence), 5.2.2 (Implications), 10.1 (Religion, faith and systems of belief), 10.4 (Superstition).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)