Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Angelic amulet advert banned by ASA

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING now applies to magical amulets:
Amulet advert banned over claim of 'divine protection'
An advert for an amulet which promised 'divine protection' has been banned by advertising bosses because the firm behind it could not prove that angels will protect those who wear it.

Published: 7:00AM BST 18 Aug 2010 (The Telegraph)

The magazine advert, placed by The Circle of Raphael (CoR), promised that the 'seven angels amulet' would bring its owner 'angelic blessings, guidance and peace' - and bring them luck at 'games of chance' at the casino.

The talisman - the size of a 10p piece and which features an array of mystic symbols - is available in silver for £29 or nine carat gold for £120.

The advert promises the wearer they would be 'blessed with the gift of Angelic good fortune, guidance and divine protection from all real danger, both physical and spiritual'

It continued: "This incredible Angelic item has proved it can create fantastic results for its owners instantly.

"From the moment you receive it, you will have seven Angelic friends watching over and protecting your life."

It stated that by wearing the talisman 'numerous doors to opportunities and good fortune' will be 'flung open like magic' and the holder will be given the gift of 'inner peace and happiness' by 'lucky in love', have 'financial security', be protected from 'all acts of violence' and it would bestow 'good fortune in games of chance'

One reader challenged the claims and said he wanted proof that the amulet worked.

A spokesman for the The Circle of Raphael - a 'small group adepts' who 'feel ancient wisdoms' - said the talisman was from a 'Hebrew religious viewpoint' and said they had sold thousands without ever receiving a complaint.

They claimed to have testimonies from wearers saying the amulet had 'done exactly what was claimed in the advert', but that customers could get their money back if not happy with the purchase within 60 days of buying it. But the ASA ruled that the advert should not be used again, stating that it had breached honesty, truthfulness and substantiation clauses of the advertising code.

A spokesman for the ASA said: "The ASA noted CoR did not send evidence that showed the efficacy of the talisman.

This seems a bit harsh, considering all the unverifiable promises made by mainstream religions. (Robert Heinlein once commented that the world's religions have been making promises about the afterlife for thousands of years without ever producing even one satisfied customer.) I guess the Circle of Raphael mis-stepped first by making such concrete this-worldly claims and second by charging a fee rather than asking for a "donation." Still, I would have thought the 60-day money-back guarantee would have covered them.

The amulet's claims are quite similar to some of the promises made by the Merkavah mystics for their praxes, although the texts say nothing about charging for them.
He who repeats this great mystery--his face is sallow, his stature is fine, awe of him is imposed on (all) creatures, and his good name goes into all the places of Israel. His dreams are easy to him, his Torah is preserved in him, and he does not forget the words of Torah all his days. It is good for him in this world and restful for him in the world to come. Even the iniquities of his youth are remitted him for the coming future. The evil inclination has no authority over him, and he is saved from spirits and demons and robbers and from all injurious animals and from snake and scorpion and from all harmful demons.
(Merkavah Rabba §705)