Manaki Wellbeing Website Advertisement
Meeting 6 March 2012
Complainant: M. Edmonds
Advertisement: Manaki Wellbeing
Complaint: The website advertisement for Manaki Wellbeing (http://www.manaki.co.nz) featured a promotion for Bio- Cleanse Footbath. Among the claims made in the advertisement were:
"the field enhancer activating the water;" "The Bio-Cleanse unit produces a complex ionized energy field which stimulates the body's own natural cleaning processes at a cellular level" and "Our unit has Rife frequencies that can be set to any of the following: Cancer, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Parasites, Pathogens, relaxation & Schumann."
Complainant, M. Edmonds, said:
I recently made a complaint about a Manaki Wellbeing advertisement on the living social website (complaint 11/636) which was upheld. I have now discovered that Manaki Wellbeing is still advertising this so called therapy on their home website, even though it uses the same pseudoscientific language to advertise their dubious bio cleanse therapy.
If it is appropriate I would like to make a complaint against their website at http://www.manaki.co.nz/biocleanse.htm and http://www.manaki.co.nz/biocleanse.htm As I stated in my last complaint these websites also make unproven and incorrect claims about their treatments. Specifically the suggestions that "the field enhancer activating the water", "the biocleanse unit produces a complex ionized energy field which stimulates the body's own natural cleaning processes at a cellular level" and " our unit has rife frequencies that can be set to any of the following: cancer, fibromyalgia, parasites" are scientifically absurd. Also by advertising this therapy to those with cancer or fibromyalgia there is the potential to take advantage of those who in their desperation for treatment with pay for twenty of the $65 hourly treatments. Furthermore, the previous response from Manaki in defending my last complaint demonstrated they have no understanding of science and chemistry. In their first few paragraphs they not only did not understand what electrolysis was, they also claimed water was ionized to form impossible ions.
Thus I believe that under principle 3 these websites violate the advertising standards authority rules.
The Chairman ruled that the following provisions were relevant:
Therapeutic Services Advertising Code
Principle 2 - Advertisements should observe a high standard of social responsibility particularly as consumers rely on therapeutic services for their health and well-being.
Principle 3 - Advertisements should not by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim mislead or deceive or be likely to mislead or deceive consumers, abuse the trust of or exploit the lack of knowledge of consumers, exploit the superstitious or without justifiable reason play on fear.
Guideline 3(a) - Therapeutic claims should be factual and able to be proved.
The Advertiser, Manaki Wellbeing, said:
We have pulled the content off our website!
Until I get direction as to what content is .. acceptable from Bio Cleanse NZ. There are so many people who truly believe in this treatment so many of us have experienced Amazing health benefits !
The Complaints Board carefully read all correspondence in relation to the complaint, and viewed a copy of the advertisement. It noted that, in the Complainant's view, the advertisement made unproven and incorrect claims about the Bio Cleanse treaments. The Complainant also said that by suggesting that Bio Cleanse could be set for conditions such as cancer etc, it had the potential to take advantage of a vulnerable audience.
The Chairman directed the Complaints Board to consider the complaint with reference to the Therapeutic Services Advertising Code, Principles 2 and 3 and Guidelines 3(a) and 3(b). Accordingly, the task before the Complaints Board was to determine whether the advertisement observed a high standard of social responsibility to consumers and to society as required by Principle 2 and whether it would be likely to mislead the consumers, thereby breaching Principle 3. Guideline 3(a) required the Complaints Board to assess whether any therapeutic claims made in the advertisement were factual and able to be proved and Guideline 3(b) required the Complaints Board to assess whether the advertisement featured any depictions which unduly glamorise the service or portray unrealistic outcomes.
Turning to the advertisement, the Complaints Board noted the response from the Advertiser and, in particular, it stated that they had taken the content at the centre of the complaint, off their website.
Noting this self-regulatory action in order to address the concerns of the Complainant, the Complaints Board ruled that the matter was settled.
Decision: Complaint Settled