Lets see this advertising a cross then…
A TV ad for a pendant that claimed to ward off evil spirits has been banned by the advertising watchdog for exploiting the vulnerable.
The direct response TV advert in Hindi was run by MATV Punjabi in December last year, and featured a Ganesh rudraksh pendant that promised to promote good health and protect the wearer from bad luck.
A man was shown wearing the pendant and a protective shield then appeared around him. This image was followed by testimonials from satisfied customers and then a presenter, who said there was scientific evidence to back up these claims.
Monitoring staff at the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, the body charged with writing TV advertising regulations, said that the advert flew in the face of its codes forbidding the promotion of the occult, psychic practices and exorcism.
The BCAP argued that the advert exploited the superstitious and the vulnerable. It also challenged the existence of scientific evidence to corroborate the testimonials.
Leicester-based MATV countered these arguments by saying that the rudraksh was comparable to Christians wearing a cross. It said that the pendant was sacred and was associated with Lord Shiva, one of the prominent Hindu gods.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority today ruled that the MATV ad breached the broadcast TV advertising standards code, which prohibits advertising for products or services within the recognised character of the occult.
The regulator also upheld the complaint that unsubstantiated claims and testimonies exploited vulnerable viewers.
“In the absence of clinically-controlled trials to prove the efficacy of the product, we considered that the claims were misleading,” said the ASA.
The ASA concluded that the ad can only be shown again if adequate proof is included to bear out the pendant’s alleged powers.