Saturday, 27 February 2010

*Nexus Magazine - not exactly averse to promoting woo

The February 2010 issue of Nexus Magazine has provided rich pickings for this vexatious complainant, so my last complaint features an advert placed by... Nexus Magazine themselves!

UPDATE, 20 May: ASA reports "[The advertiser] has given us their written assurance that, going forward, the ad (and the claims therein) will not appear again."

Pinhole glasses are available everywhere, but unfortunately, there isn't much evidence that they are beneficial for anyone.

I just the ASA will agree.

"I write to complain about an advert published in Nexus Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 2 (February-March 2010).

The advert, for Nexus Magazine themselves, is entitled "Pinhole Glasses".

I have submitted a scan of the advert. I can provide an original copy of the advert by post, if required.

I suspect that the advert is in breach of two sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code.

1. Nexus Magazine is published in the UK "under licence by Nexus Magazine (UK) Ltd". It is available in high street shops like WH Smiths.

2. The February-March 2010 issue (Vol. 17, No. 2, page 84) carried a classified advert entitled "Pinhole Glasses".

3. The CAP Code, Section 3.1, states "Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation."

4. The CAP Code, Section 50.1, states "Medical and scientific claims made about beauty and health-related products should be backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people..."

5. I challenge whether Nexus Magazine holds documentary evidence for any of the following claims, and I challenge whether their claims are backed by appropriate evidence consisting of trials conducted on people.

(i) Pinholes in pinhole glasses improve the sharpness of the image;

(ii) Pinhole glasses allow your brain to find the point of focus (i.e. more quickly);

(iii) Regularly wearing pinhole glasses provides regular exercise for the eyes;

(iv) Regularly wearing pinhole glasses helps your eyes' focusing system.

6. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, Nexus Magazine, or with the publishing industry in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or Nexus Magazine.

7. I confirm that I am happy to be identified as the complainant."


  1. I agree theclaims seems ridiculous, but I plan to get a pair anyway, since they seem like cool-looking sunshades. Is there something wrong with me? ;-)

    By the way, since you have read up on this, does it seem to you that any of the claims on are bogus?

  2. Hi bkhl,

    I like the glasses, too, and used to own a pair (just for the geek factor, since I've got good vision).

    That Wikipedia contains a few bogus claims (they're the ones not linked to references - rather easy to spot). I gave up editing Wikipedia a long time ago, though. It's even more soul-destroying than writing to OfQuack.

  3. This is an old topic but I have only just found your site. I do wear pinhole glasses and for me they are simply wonderful but this is because of my medical condition. I have no sight in my left eye and some years ago suffered a corneal ulcer in the right eye. The ulcer has healed but the resulting scar tissue remains and suffer from "corneal scattering". The result of this is that I am unable to form a clear image, a condition that cannot be rectified with glasses.
    One of the eyetests carrid out in the hospital was to test my vision on a Snellen chart. Firstly unaided and then looking through a pinhole. The pinhole improved my sight in the same simple way that a pinhole camera works and most people would probably understand the science behind that. After some attempts at homemade pinhole viewers I found pinhole glasses on the internet.
    With the correct lighting I am now able to use my computer, and am wearing my glasses as I type this to you, and can focus on close text. My consultant now resommends trying these glasses to patients with similar conditions.
    They do not do a fraction of what is claimed in their advertisements and for that I would whole heartedly support your action against them. However, they do have a function for some people. Anyone can make a simple pinhole viewer using their curled fingers, so give it a go when you forget your glasses! it is better than squinting at something.


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