Media watch

Media watch

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The IHRB website touts so-called editorials from independent journals. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sam Cohen desperately wants people to believe him. To re-enforce his propaganda, he distributes copies of ‘Editorials from independent Journals.’ He has a link on his website, showing five articles for download, as if anything in print, is gospel. I have several issues with the articles and with his approach. The word ‘editorial’ would give people the impression that a journalist or reporter or investigator or writer went to the trouble of researching facts and figures. As if the words are not his, but someone else’s. As if others, such as professional journalists, are speaking highly of him. This is false. No such critical review is evident in the printed articles. Sam uses the word ‘independent’ as if to suggest that he did not influence the printed word. He wants people to believe all his lies. To make sure they do, he attempts to mislead again by suggesting that the articles were written with the scrutiny that comes from arms-length professionals.

Let us examine the facts. Here are two of the articles. The first is from the Wentworth Courier dated 6 October 2004. The second is from Spectator Newspaper dated 11 March 2005. It is staggering that they both share the same text and the same headline. This is text lifted by an advertising department that must have promised so-called editorial support in exchange for money for ads placed in the papers. These two ads are nothing more than a self-generated media releases. And that is fine from the perspective of publicity, but my issue is that Sam points to them, as if they prove that others agree with him, or that others also think that he is good. There is nothing rigourous about these ads. Sam is insulting the public, whom he hopes would blindly assume that some third-party has praised him. Besides, independent editorials in journals do not list company names with addresses and phone numbers.

Where’s the independence?

Sam’s alleged independent editorials, if they were true editorials, would be an indictment on any journalist. The publications in question swallowed IHRB’s media releases, without asking question. The Spectator Newspaper provides Sam with a second advertorial on the 24th of September 2004. The headline says, ‘IT’S TRUE! More Hair or Your Money Back!’ How can any credible publication be so bold as to make a confirmation that something is true, without investigating the facts. How does the publication know that it is true? It is not true! Did the journalist read the contract? Did the journalist ask if anyone had ever been given their money back without an almighty fuss and without legal action? Before a newspaper can stake its reputation on any claim, it has a duty of care to check that something is not a scam or a con or a lie. Anyway, who are we kidding? This is not an editorial. It is rubbish lifted from Sam Cohen’s own brochures. Let me show you.

From IHRB advertisement in 2010:
My Name is Sam Cohen, hair loss and hair replacement specialist for more than 36 years. Using prescribed topical and oral pharmaceutical products, natural extracts and herbal preparations, I have helped thousands of men, women and children with “genetic baldness” re-grow their own natural hair back.
From Spectator in 2004:
For over 35 years, well known ‘hair regrowth’ and ‘hair replacement’ specialist and founder of the “Institute of Hair Regrowth & Beauty” Sam Cohen has been helping thousands of men, women and children regrow their own natural hair back by using prescribed topical and oral pharmaceutical products, natural extracts and herbal preparations.

From IHRB website in 2010:
Solved many hair and scalp problems, such as, itchy scalp, dry or oily hair, etc. Innovated and custom designed the most versatile and natural looking “hairpieces” improved “hair implantation” procedures and advised and consulted on all types of “hair transplants”. With my knowledge and practical experience, I can also achieve great results for you, provided you act soon, because the DHT affected dormant hair roots will die within 4 years.
From Spectator in 2004:
Sam has been on TV, radio and various publications over the years. Sam tells us that the life of a DHT affected hair is approximately 4 years. Therefore, he wants you to act now, as he can also solve many hair and scalp problems, such as, itchy scalp, dry or oily hair etc. He has also helped in modifying and improving ‘hair Transplants, ‘hair Implants’ and custom designs the most versatile and natural looking hairpieces.

From IHRB website 2004:
Most organizations will have you spending thousands of dollars with recurring cost for unnecessary cosmetic products, office treatments, mineral hair analysis, lasers, etc,… enable them to keep a grip on you and your money.
From Spectator in 2004:
He also states that, most organizations will have you spending thousands of dollars for office treatments, etc., and keep you coming back to keep a grip on you and secure your hard earned dollars.

From IHRB website in 2003:
…it can be conducted in the privacy, convenience and comfort of your own home. Further, those who do not or are not able to visit our clinic, need not worry. We will send you a questionnaire with all the relevant information and instructions explaining the cause and how the treatment works.
From Spectator in 2004:
Sam will send out a questionnaire with all the relevant information and instructions explaining how his treatment works, so that you can treat your hair and scalp problems in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

From IHRB website in 2003:
If you have tried or currently trying treatments without success or feel you are paying too much, then you need to discuss our hair treatment program that offers guaranteed results or your money back.
From Spectator in 2004:
If you have tried or currently trying other treatments without success or paying too much, then you must discuss Sam’s most successful money back guaranteed hair regrowth program.


Click here to download an extract from the 2004 IHRB website.

So far, we have analysed three of the five supposedly-independent editorials, showing that they are nothing more than paid advertorials, containing neither scrutiny nor editorial integrity. We have two more to inspect, dating back to 2003. Both are from City Weekly. The first one lifts all the text from the media release, but it has the decency to place “quotation marks” around the more daring of statements, as if to suggest that Sam was interviewed, or perhaps to distance itself from the bold claims. Nonetheless, this advertorial headed ‘mane event’ features the full address, phone number, and web site. No independent editorial would do this.

The second is from December 2003. It is the only one that might have involved a phone call from a researcher or advertising copywriter. Unfortunately, it cannot pass as an independent editorial simply because it is a straight-out sales pitch that also includes address, phone, and web details, as well as a logo at the bottom right-hand corner. No editorial contains a logo in this way, especially when the logo is also prominent in the main photo at the top of the page. Besides, these are better called favourtorials — favours by the newspaper to give an advertiser the impression that there is value in advertising. Many publications charge a set fee for this type of company profile. I would not be surprised if IHRB had paid for this, or if it was thrown-in as part of Sam’s advertising deals. Only yesterday I received an emails from a marketing magazine, asking me if I would like to feature my company in this way. Naturally, I declined.

I understand that businesses have been sending out media releases for decades. And I know that some reporters are lazy. I have seen supposed book reviews of my own books, where the writer gives the readers the impression that he has read my book, and that he has summarised his thoughts, when in fact, everything he wrote was lifted from the back cover. Perhaps neither Sam nor I can be responsible for sloppy journalism. However, for years and years, Sam has referred to these editorials and has made a feature of them on the front page of his website, purposefully suggesting to his public that independent sources have commented about his success. This is misleading. The average person who is not media-savvy might form the impression that reputable newspapers have investigated his claims, and are giving him the tick of approval. They might presume that the high-praise was from a thirty-party who had conducted critical reviews or investigative research. Sam knows that 100% of the text was sales fluff that never addressed any of the important questions that a professional publication should ask; especially about the sensitive topic of hair loss and baldness that attracts charlatans, cheats, con men, and scammers who cloud this industry with snake-oil.

False claims

I am not alone in admonishing this industry. Sam Cohen himself, via his full-page ads, makes similar warning. Sam knows all too well the scams that con people to hand over their hard-earned money. The sad thing is this: his warnings about the industry are also warnings about himself and his company. He claims to be the first and only one to offer a guarantee. This is incorrect. He does not offer a guarantee. He tells the world that he does. But he does not. I can tell the world that I own the Pink Panther. It’s easy to make false claims. The evidence I have shown in an article called ‘The jewel in the crown’ proves that he does not offer a guarantee.

P.S. In the sales propaganda folder that Sam gave me, there were other media clippings. They all fall in the category of ‘favourtorials’. I did not feature them here because I wanted to focus on these five that he displays on his website. Besides, you get the picture, and they are all the same.

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