British Advertising Standards Authority
Adjudication on Business Revolution Ltd (2012)
Business Revolution Ltd
18 Rossendale House
Date: 21 November 2012
Media: Internet (on own site)
Number of complaints: 1
Complaint Ref: A12-207123
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
Claims on the website www.business-revolutions.com promoted a device that could be attached to electrical equipment. Text stated "THE EFFECT OF ESMOG - Nervousness - sleepnessless [sic] - headaches - allergies - cancer - death . . .THE SOLUTION OF ESMOG - We have developed an effective solution, that will protect you and your family every day! ... Daily, we are exposed to harmful radiation, the so-called electrical smog or "e-Smog". Electrical smog does not remain without side effects; typical signs include increased headache, sleeplessness, nervousness, allergies or lacks [sic] of concentration. Experts argue as to the effect of these impulses on the human body, but there is growing evidence to suggest you should now look for immediate environmental protection for your children and families. WillauTronic™ eSmog Responders™ are the global market leaders of eSmog protection products ...".
Under a tab labelled "Electrosmog" and the sub heading "What you should know?", text stated "...What can you do (in fact of all these dangerous developments)? How can you leave this vicious circle? Walter Laufs, founder and developer of Willau Tronic® products, is deeply engaged in this topic and is proud to offer an effective and operative protection".
Under a tab labelled "Information", text stated "Here is what the Press has to say about WillauTronic® . . . The steady stream of radiation all around us, at any time, can be the reason why we experience: eyestrain, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, lack of concentration, irregular heart rythm [sic], immune weaknesses, headaches, trouble remembering, nervousness, sleeplessness, stress intolerance, being tired during the daytime, aches in the neck- and shoulder area, all this and many more symptoms can be caused by Electrosmog. These truly unhealthy situations must not be helplessly endured, a tiny chip from WillauTronic® may be able to help . . . The solution is as simple as it is potent. The stress causing signals of the electronic device is [sic] neutralized thru [sic] a specially programmed chip or put like this: The stress causing basic vibration is being neutralized by a counter vibration (Interferenz) For this to work, the WillauTronic® chip just needs to be adhered to the specific device, such as the TV, Computer, Mobile phone. The reason that his method is not yet, widely recognized, Dr. Laufs explains with this. The difficulty of measuring such fine fields, as they are used in natural medicine, in the diagnostic areas and in therapy. Why his invention is still being denied recognition by certain people? Dr. Laufs is certain: "surely not because they do not work!" Simply because of the fact, that they, at this time, are not yet measurable with nowadays equipment used in Science . . . studies have shown, that by using the chip, when telephoning, the stress level goes down by 80%. And happy users report, that headaches and even heart rate irregularities vanish after a few days of use. People were able to handle stress situations much easier ...".
A campaigner on health-related issues challenged whether:
- the claims in relation to the effects of "e-Smog"; and
- the claims in relation to the efficacy of the product Willau Tronic
were misleading and could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
1. & 2. Business Revolution Ltd (Business Revolution) responded to the ASA by phone. They said they weren't aware that their website was accessible to the public, but in any case they hadn't developed the products and only acted as an agent to sell them, so they should not be considered to be an advertiser. They stated that the claim "THE EFFECT OF ESMOG - Nervousness - sleepnessless [sic] - headaches - allergies - cancer - death..." was taken from the book "A Handy Way to Cook Your Brain: What's the damage?", which was available to buy from their website.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA acknowledged Business Revolution's statement that they had not known their website was live, but noted that it had nevertheless been accessible to the public at the time of the complaint. Although Business Revolution had argued that they were not an advertiser, we considered that the claims on their website were directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods and were therefore subject to the CAP Code. We noted that the CAP Code required marketers to hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers were likely to regard as objective and that were capable of objective substantiation. We understood that some of the claims on the website may have been informed by, or taken from, other sources such as the book mentioned by Business Revolution. However, they were nevertheless presented as objective and therefore needed to be supported by robust evidence. Because we had not received evidence to substantiate the claims made with regard to the effects of "e-Smog" and the efficacy of the Willau Tronic products, we concluded that they were misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 12.1 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
The claims must not appear again in their current form.
This article was posted on December 19, 2012.