Miraculous sure cure

Miraculous sure cure

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The TGA’s Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 4.2.g says: ‘An advertisement for therapeutic goods must not: contain any claim, statement or implication that it is infallible, unfailing, magical, miraculous, or that it is a certain, guaranteed or sure cure.’ This advertorial was given to me in the sales kit and is now on the IHRB.com site as at at 23 June 2010. It gives the impression that the guarantee is not one of ‘If this does not work, you get your money back’, but it says, ‘This will work, and Mr Cohen is extra confident that it will work, and he has decades of experience’.

[UPDATE: New Sanctions in November 2011 found IHRB’s ads unlawful and misleading. Read the latest by clicking here.]

The text reads: ‘In fact, Mr Cohen is so confident about the products used at IHRB that he is offering his Sydney clients a world-first, money-back guarantee that his treatment will bring back hair lost in the past three to four years.’ In general business, there are two types of guarantees. One that says that if something does not work, you receive your money back. And this a silly guarantee, because why on earth is someone selling something and expecting to keep the money if that product does not work? A money-back guarantee is an absurdity. What is the alternative statement? ‘Give us your money and if the product does not work, tough luck?’ This would be theft. The second type of guarantee is the meaning that something will work. We know it will work. We assure you that it will work. We guarantee it to work, on our reputation, and we assure you that it will work. This is the emphatic statement that is being made using this psychologically charged text that says Mr Cohen is SO CONFIDENT, that he says his treatment WILL bring back hair. This is a guarantee of confidence. And as such, it breaks Code 4.2.g.

The Code also stipulates that advertisements must not imply that a product is miraculous. Indeed, Mr Cohen of IHRB never says that he can perform miracles. Instead, he arranges it so that his testimonials make that claim. Here we see a hand-written note from a client that Mr Cohen publishes on his website. It reads, ‘My wife said you are a mighty man. You perform miracles in people’s lives by regrowing their hair…’

Here are two more testimonials that were given to me in a sales kit, and which appear on the IHRB website. The first one says ‘Dear Sam, THANKYOU! You have performed miracles in my world, at the time when I was loosing (sic) my hair.’

The second one says, ‘Thank you so much Sam you’re literally performing miracles!

For a copy of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2007 from the TGA, please click here.

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