Saturday, 27 February 2010
*Stephen Holbrook - clairvoyant, or not?
Stephen Holbrook describes himself as a "clairvoyant".
UPDATE, 19 Mar: ASA reply "Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority. We have viewed the advertisement you refer to and considered the issue you raise in terms of the CAP (Non-broadcast) Advertising Code but there do not appear to be grounds for formal investigation on this occasion.
We note that the ad does not include any specific claims of success or guarantees of the service which might constitute a breach of the Code. The ad is stating what the advertiser is offering, and there do not appear to be claims, or guarantees of success, which we would expect the advertiser to be able to substantiate. Whilst we appreciate that the show being advertised will not appeal to all who see it, we do not consider that further action on the points you raise would be justified on this occasion, or that the specific content of the ad is likely to detrimentally mislead those who see it." (Letter)
If you're quick, you can buy a ticket to see Stephen at the Tilsworth Golf Centre in Leighton Buzzard. (You can see an advert for it here.)
I won't be there, but I would still like to know if he can provide documentary evidence of his claim. The usual ASA complaint follows.
"I write to complain about an advert published in the Luton Herald and Post on Thursday, February 25th, 2010.
The advert, for Premier Newspapers Evening Events, is entitled "An Evening of Clairvoyance with Stephen Holbrook".
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 one section of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code.
1. The Herald and Post is a free newspaper distributed weekly in Luton, in South Bedfordshire.
2. The Thursday, February 25th, 2010 issue (page 58) carried an advert entitled "An Evening of Clairvoyance with Stephen Holbrook". The advert promoted two events, one in Leighton Buzzard (Bedfordshire), the other in Aylesbury (Buckinhamshire).
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. Given that the advert makes no mention of "magic", "illusions" or "for entertainment", I challenge whether the advertiser holds documentary evidence for the claim that Stephen Holbrook is a clairvoyant.
5. Given that the advert makes no mention of "magic", "illusions" or "for entertainment", I challenge whether the advertiser holds documentary evidence for the claim that Sandy Ingham is a medium, or the she has psychic abilities.
6. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, the Herald and Post, or with the publishing industry in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the Herald and Post.
7. I confirm that I am happy to be identified as the complainant."