IHRB discovers PhotoShop

IHRB discovers PhotoShop

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IHRB is at it again, with new ads that make even bolder claims, showing fake results, thanks to PhotoShop, which is a software program that gave this man (above) more hair with a click of a computer mouse. Is it ethical, honourable, decent, and fair to lure customers to this ad, by showing fake touched-up photos? The irony is that Mr Cohen admonishes those hair companies that promote ‘a full head of hair’ which turns out to be a wig. Mr Cohen detests those competitors who sell ‘hair pieces’ via ads that never admit to it. He advises us all to be wary of con-artists who mislead people. Pray tell, if ads that trick people into purchasing wigs are not to Mr Cohen’s liking, why does he attract people’s attention with his new ads, such as this one that appeared on Friday 4 November 2011 in the ‘Bondi Classifieds’, by using a software program to effectively spray-paint hair on this model?

One might argue that the images are merely representative of the results that one could expect. This has nothing to do with any argument. There can be no argument, because we have laws in place. Mr Cohen is promoting medical products and therapeutic products, and he is making strong, bold, insistent, confident, therapeutic claims. So it does not matter what he or I think about this. The laws require therapeutic products to be promoted in certain ways, and to not make certain claims. Showing results like these, that were obtained via PhotoShop, is misleading. It is downright deceptive. For those interested, click here to read the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.

WHY IS THIS AD MEGA-MISLEADING?

Even if this ad were to make it clear to the reader that the images were merely representative, and even if the ad had made it known that the images were PhotoShopped, there would still remain the mega-misleading nature of the ad because an IHRB client who does have a head/scalp that is balding like the man shown in the photo, Sam would take photos of that client’s head and then Sam would pull out a rubber stamp, and stamp the photos with a statement that tells the client that he is not to expect hair to grow in the areas where the man is bald or balding. The stamp says something like, ‘Do not expect hair to regrow here’. Then Sam asks the client to sign next to the stamp to agree that the client does not expect hair to grow there. This tactic makes this ad 100% false and misleading and totally unrepresentative of what it is promoting. The photos are suggesting that Sam Cohen and IHRB can help you to go achieve something like the before-and-after shots/illustrations shown in the ad. However, IHRB makes people sign that they cannot be helped in this fashion. In November 2011, Mr Cohen, via his lawyer, responded to the Complaints Resolution Panel, and in their submission, they stated that IHRB never claims to grow hair.

Here is a para from the article:

The Panel’s report says in Paragraph 19 that, ‘The advertiser stated that they did “not promise to regrow hair on bald heads” but rather offer assistance in seeking to impact upon the conditions causing hair loss, the improvement of the scalp, and improvement of dying hair into better texture”.’ So now, for the first time ever, Mr Sam Cohen is saying that he does not regrow hair on bald heads. On which kinds of heads does he grow hair?

So although the image is photoshopped, the misleading aspect is that Sam Cohen never promises people with similar balding patterns any success. The IHRB contract does not cater to people with this kind of scalp, so how can he advertise something that he does not offer? And his products (curries and herbal extracts) have never been shown to grow hair on such heads. Therefore, in my considered opinion, this ad is 100% fraudulent and misleading.

The fraud is not the PhotoShop. Rather, it is the fact that any client who has a head like this, is told not to expect hair to grow there. Do you see the Catch-22 here?

THE FINGERPRINTS

Let’s take a look at the ‘fingerprints’ of these two shots below. They are in fact one shot. The only difference is that the second one was doctored, using a computer. How can we tell that they are the same single shot? I have placed arrows that point to the fingerprints (the tell-tale signs) that provide the evidence to show that they are the same photo. No two photos taken weeks or months apart can have a model/client sitting in front of the camera to the second shot that just so happens to capture every strand of hair in identically the same spot.

 

Now take a good look at the front side. Same deceptive technique. It’s easy to see that it’s the same photo, with some PhotoShop airbrushing.

 

Here is what the full ad looks like:

I have no idea what is meant by ‘25% off all treatments’. This is so ambiguous. It’s unclear because IHRB’s price when I was a client was $4,900, but few paid this amount to start with. As part of the high-pressure sales pitch, a thousand dollars was cut on the spot ‘if you sign NOW’. I hesitated, so Mr Sam Cohen dropped it some more, to $3,700, and then he added extra bottles of useless shampoo. And the final sweetener was, ‘You’ve got nothing to lose, because this comes with a “written” 100% money back guarrantee’ which a year later I realised was a 100% lie. No doubt Mr Cohen is still telling people that I came in and used a different name (as if my name determines how fast my hair grows) and that I did not use his standard product (he has to say that so as not to incriminate himself by admitting that he illegally sold me Scheduled medications) and that I never returned with a doctor’s prescription (which he conveniently forgets he never asked me to go and get until six months into the program after rashes and accelerated baldness) and he insists that I could not get a prescription because I had used a different name (as if my doctors don’t know who I am, and he will not understand that my GP and the more expensive Specialist both refused to give me a prescription because Mr Cohen wanted me to obtain non-approved dangerous medications).

I won’t analyse this ad right now, because I am sure you can do it yourself. Everything about this ad is bad, misleading, dubious, untested, unverified, and shonky. The medical claims are intergalactic. And the silly offers like ‘Free consultation’ are jaw-droppingly ticklish. Free consultation? He is not a consultant. He has no qualifications. Mr Cohen breaks every rule in the commercial and medical books, so much so that the Health Care Complaints Commission slapped IHRB (Institute of Hair Regrowth & Beauty) and Mr Samuel Faraj Cohen with a Permanent Prohibition Order, saying that he endangered the health and safety of his clients. Free consulting? He means a free long sales pitch that in my case (and in the cases of the many former clients who contact me with their sad stories) was two hours of lies. Nothing he told me during his sales pitch was true. 100% lies. Not 98% and not 99% but a big chubby 100%. But of course, he has accused me of lying, so we run around in circles.

His problem is that I can prove every statement I make. He can’t prove anything. If he will tell you that I am lying, ask him to give me and others permission to release the audio tapes that reveal all. Ask him to prove to you that his special herbs and natural extracts exist and that they are scientifically tested. He can’t. He won’t. So what’s he rabbiting on about? We don’t want to see pieces of paper that are nothing more than paper. We want to see the extracts and the scientific proof that they exist and that they justify the prices whereby he sells bottles at $200 which contain (who knows) Minoxidil or other lotions that one could purchase at $15 and $20. How does $20 become $200? How does $70 become $900 (fair dinkum). Because of the secret herbal extracts? Just prove it. Not by pointing to paragraph 6.20 of the HCCC report. That report was merely quoting him, so now he is quoting them quoting him!

Mr Cohen might show you letters from his pharmacists that state that they will inject his ingredients. The pharmacists did sign those letters, eager to do business with him, until they saw the supposed secret extracts and refused to have anything to do with them. You can read about it here.

Mr Cohen will say that the secret extracts are secret, just like KFC has 11 secret herbs and spices for their fried chicken. Nice analogy, but useless. Chicken does not fall under the Therapeutic Goods Act. His claims pertain to therapeutic goods. The law requires that he reveal his ingredients. It’s got nothing to do with me. It’s the law mate.

Never mind all this, because Mr Sam Cohen will show you testimonials from people who did have great results. Indeed. What medications were those people taking? What medical risks did they take? How much did they pay? Whatever they bought from him, they could have bought from anyone else. Any good results were thanks to products already available on the market at a tenth the price. If anyone grew their hair, it was thanks to Minoxidil which they can purchase or have compounded at any compounding pharmacy. It was thanks to Retin-A that is not approved by the TGA (and for very good reason). Thanks to Loniten that is not approved for hair by the TGA (and for very good reason). Thanks to finasteride (that has serious side effects, but still, who needs IHRB to buy finasteride?). But Mr Cohen will say that none of these products work without his special secret Indian curries/herbs/extracts. Great, then prove it. Every other company on the market has to prove its claims. So why is Sam Cohen exempt?

P.S. The ad was again re-posted on Sunday 13 November 2011.

By the way, in the November 2011 Parramatta issue of ‘Negotiator’ magazine, we see an ad very similar to this one.

In Parramatta ‘Negotiator’ issue #60, we see the following ad on page 15 where we see a new testimonial from a client called Maree Azzopardi:

 

We again see Ms Maree Azzopardi’s testimonial in an ad printed 11 November 2011 in the Spectator publication called ‘Eastern Suburbs Leader’:

 

By the way, in case you are wondering where the original photo of the balding man came from, I would say it was purchased from a photo library. I found it here at Dreamstime.com.

 

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