Does anyone remember Jeff Hope, the man with the most outrageous marketing claim ever to hit my inbox?
"Any sort of disease whatsoever - physical or mental - will be rapidly curable, simply and cheaply. It will be possible to reverse aging and rejuvenate the person. It will be possible to re-grow limbs and straighten misshapen spines - and directly remove the causes of mental diseases and cure them as well. Lifespan will be staggeringly increased, without 'old age's debilitation'. AIDS, cancer, leukemia [sic], and genetic diseases will be completely conquered..."
The device in question - the Quantumwave Laser - was so staggeringly successful in curing AIDS and cancer that it, errr, doesn't appear to be for sale any more.
"The Wellness Tree (Wellness) said... on reflection, the leaflet could have been taken out of context and there should have been more checks made before it went to print. Wellness said they would no longer distribute the leaflet and had engaged an advertising agent and legal advisor to ensure that all their advertising material complied with the CAP Code in future."
This "advertising agent" and "legal advisor" - if, indeed, any such person was ever engaged - seem to have been asleep at their desks.
Jeff's latest advertisements, which have been appearing in Nexus magazine throughout the year, are full of claims for a device which might be used to treat... errr, AIDS and cancer!
The Elanra, pictured above, is claimed to be
"THE ONLY patented device out there which makes negative ions of OXYGEN!"
Anyone who has been to their local Homebase, Argos or Wilkinsons recently might dispute that finding, but let's get down to the nitty-gritty.
"Let us now explore the primary benefits gained by using the Elanra... In 1992, NEXUS even paid for the world's leading researcher into oxygen therapies, Ed McCabe, to fly to Australia [where Nexus is published] to display documentation of people cured of AIDS and cancer via oxygen therapies..."
The Elanra is pretty good for cases of delhi belly, too, as Nexus magazine's editor Duncan explains.
"Josh and Nina had brought along their portable version of the Elanra ioniser, and not only were they the only ones NOT to get sick [from diarrhaea], but when they kindly loaned it to others with the bug, they soon recovered! Those on the special tablets we were given for such bugs, remained glued to the toilet."
Jeff's company, the Wellness Tree Group, have learned from their brush with the authorities and are now producing "evidence" to support their claims. Not, it must be said, with unqualified success.
"An independent survey of Elanra users by Osborne International in 2009 reported these impressive results: 91% Less Hayfever/Allergies... 95% Less Cols & Flu... 89% Faster Illness Recovery..."
The world's universities and research companies must be kicking themselves having spent trillions of dollars on research, when a customer satisfaction survey - yes, a customer satisfaction survey - will do the job just as well!
Jeff, don't you think it's time to stop breaking the law, and go straight? Meanwhile - ASA complaint follows!
1. I'm writing to complain about two advertisements for Wellness Tree Group which appeared in the October-November 2012 issue of Nexus Magazine. The advertisements promote the "Elanra", a "Medical Negative Ioniser" device as a possible treatment for several serious medical conditions.
2. Near-identical adverts also appeared in the February 2012 issue (p2 & p28), the April 2012 issue (p2 & p62), the June 2012 issue (p2 & p19) and the August 2012 issue (p2 & p22).
3. I'd like to challenge whether the following health claims are misleading, and whether they can be substantiated:
(i) "Josh and Nina had brought along their portable version of the Elanra ioniser, and not only were they the only ones NOT to get sick [from diarrhaea], but when they kindly loaned it to others with the bug, they soon recovered! Those on the special tablets we were given for such bugs, remained glued to the toilet."
(ii) The world's "leading research into oxygen therapies" is Ed McCabe, even though McCabe describes himself as a "journalist"  with a degree in "Educational Media" , not a doctor, medical researcher or scientist
(iii) Ed McCabe has "display[ed] documentation of people cured of AIDS and cancer via oxygen therapies"
(iv) "We have lost count of the people who claim that they cured themselves of cancer, herpes, candida and a myriad of other diseases, all by increasing their oxygen level"
(v) "...this machine [the Elanra] is THE ONLY patented device out there which makes negative ions of OXYGEN!"
(vi) "...the Elanra also literally cleans the air, eliminating odours, germs, fungi, moulds etc etc..."
(vii) "Every health practitioner's waiting room should have one of these devices. They would improve the health of people waiting, as well as kill germs and bacteria coughed and spluttered by those waiting."
(viii) "...and by programming the microprocessor, [the Elanra] could produce frequencies that had proven beneficial effects on the human body"
(ix) "I have sighted the results of scientific tests conducted by Japanese scientists. Within two seconds of the Elanra being switched on, the brain (3 feet away) switched to match the Schumann Resonance!"
(x) "Helps with: Sleep problems - Allergies/Hayfever - Skin complaints - Chronic fatigue - Breathing difficulties... Weak immune system - Chemical sensitivity... flu..."
4. The advert on p2 quotes an "independent survey of Elanra users by Osborne International in 2009", which apparently produced "impressive results".
5. I'd like to challenge whether the use of this survey is misleading, because health claims are normally substantiated by rigorous clinical evidence published in medical journals, not by customer satisfaction surveys.