Sunday, 26 September 2010
Finbarr's Lucky Numbers
Another advert from Finbarr International, the wackiest booksellers in Kent.
"Important information about numbers and their astonishing power to make [you] lucky...if you can count from 1 to 9, you can use this book!...You don't have to worry about numbers above 9!"
Phew! That's a relief.
But wait! Don't roulette tables use numbers greater than... er, nine?
"MAN LIVES FROM GAMBLING! His speciality is the roulette wheel, for it is one of the casino devices in which it is genuinely possible to win. The book tells you how he found his lucky numbers. He has not had to work for years, but he does need to travel a lot, for he cannot keep going to the same casinos!"
If spinning wheels make you giddy, perhaps you'd prefer to try your luck at the racetrack?
"A young Quebec man loved the races, but was sustaining heavy losses and was in danger of being declared bankrupt. The author showed him how to find his lucky numbers, for he had been using the wrong numbers. IN ONE WEEK, HE PICKED SIX WINNING HORSES AT THE TRACK, NETTING HIM OVER $200,00! He has not looked back since!"
I hope he didn't bet on the Grand National. More than nine horses in it, you know.
ASA complaint follows, etc...
"I write to complain about an advert appearing in "Old Moore's Almanack (2011)" (2011 edition, published in June 2010, p29).
The advert, for Finbarr International, promotes a book called "1 to 9 - NUMBERS AND THEIR AMAZING EFFECT ON LUCK!"
I suspect that the advert may be in breach of several sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code (2010). I enclose a scan of the advert.
1. The advert begins with the text:
"'I never knew my real lucky numbers until I read this.'...IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT NUMBERS AND THEIR ASTONISHING POWER TO MAKE ONE LUCKY"
2. The advert contains the following text:
"MAN LIVES FROM GAMBLING! His speciality is the roulette wheel, for it is one of the casino devices in which it is genuinely possible to win. The book tells you how he found his lucky numbers. He has not had to work for years, but he does need to travel a lot, for he cannot keep going to the same casinos! Another man won the raffle prize for 8 consecutive weeks until he was banned from entry by the organisers!"
3. The advert later continues:
"A widow distressed by her overdue mortage payments used the 1-to-9 formula when she entered the local lottery. She immediately won $355, but much more was to come: 3 weeks later, she scooped $32,359, and a month after that, $1,651! Anxiety about her mortgage is now a thing of the past..."
4. The advert contains several more claims of people enjoying success in gambling and lotteries.
5. Under Section 3.7 of the CAP Code (2010) I challenge whether the advertiser can substantiate any of the following claims, and under Section 3.8 I challenge whether the claims "exaggerate the value, accuracy, scientific validity or practical usefulness" of the advertised book:
(i) The odds offered at roulette tables allow them to beaten, over the long term
(ii) The "1-to 9 formula" can be used to make profits at roulette tables
(iii) The "1-to 9 formula" can be used to win raffles across many successive weeks
(iv) The "1-to 9 formula" can be used to repeatedly win large amounts of money in local and state lotteries
(iv) The "1-to 9 formula" can be used reliably to pick winners at the race track
(v) The "1-to 9 formula" can be used to make profits at craps (dice) tables in casinos
6. Under Section 16.3.15 of the Code, I challenge whether the advert "exploit[s] cultural beliefs or traditions about gambling or luck".
7. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser or the magazine. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the magazine."