Two ads in the magazine What Doctors Don't Tell You (WDDTY), for the Harmony United website:
a. The first ad was headed "How can Quantum Physics increase your Health & Well-Being?" Further text stated "This is the question which we posed to Dipl.Ing (FH) Joachim M. Wagner, the engineer who made this discovery and to Karma Singh, for many decades a professional healer and, since 2003 the main proponent of the use of the technology in health and related issues Find the eye-opening interview on this website: www.what.getinharmony.com".
b. The second ad was headed "How can Quantum Physics (legally) increase your PERFORMANCE?" Further text stated "If, instead of trying to artificially force your body to do more, you were to remove the inner obstacles and imbalances which have hindered you, would this not be a much healthier not to say much more legal approach? [sic]"
The Nightingale Collaboration challenged whether the implied claims that the advertiser's products could increase health and performance were misleading and could be substantiated.
Harmony United Ltd (Harmony) said their products ensured that energy and information were sufficiently ordered so that the body and mind could utilise them. They said whether the human body utilised the higher quality order to remove disease was a matter for the human body. They pointed out that their technology had no influence on that.
Harmony referred us to two articles, which they believed demonstrated that their products could increase health and performance.
The ASA noted the ad questioned how Quantum Physics could increase performance and health. We also noted the ads included links to the advertiser's website, which offered a number of products for sale. In that context, we considered consumers would understand the ads to mean that the advertiser's products could increase health and performance. We therefore considered we would need to see robust documentary evidence to demonstrate that.
We noted the articles referred to by Harmony did not provide full clinical trials. We also noted that the article titled "How can Quantum Physics increase your Health and Well-Being?" included a testimonial of the advertiser's personal experience. However, we were concerned that, in and of itself, the testimonial did not constitute substantiation for the claims and would need to be supported with independent evidence of the claims’ accuracy.
Because we had not seen robust documentary evidence to demonstrate that the advertiser's products could increase health and performance, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and therefore breached the Code.
The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.
Objective claims must be backed by evidence, if relevant consisting of trials conducted on people. Substantiation will be assessed on the basis of the available scientific knowledge.
Medicinal or medical claims and indications may be made for a medicinal product that is licensed by the MHRA, VMD or under the auspices of the EMA, or for a CE-marked medical device. A medicinal claim is a claim that a product or its constituent(s) can be used with a view to making a medical diagnosis or can treat or prevent disease, including an injury, ailment or adverse condition, whether of body or mind, in human beings.
Secondary medicinal claims made for cosmetic products as defined in the appropriate European legislation must be backed by evidence. These are limited to any preventative action of the product and may not include claims to treat disease. (Medicines, medical devices, health and beauty products).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Harmony to ensure they held robust substantiation to support all claims in future.