UK Direct Shop Ltd can’t name the celebrities who supposedly use its bracelet

  1. Today (25 April 2018) the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) listed UK Direct Shop Ltd on its website as one of 43 “informally resolved” cases this week. This was after my complaint to the advertising regulator about the company’s ad that appeared in the Daily Mail newspaper on 21 February 2018.
  2. The ad was for the “Bio-Mag Therapy Bracelet”. (Daily Mail 21 Feb 2018) I first wrote about UK Direct Shop Ltd and its bracelet on 9 May 2017, when I pointed out that there was no UK-registered company with that name, according to the Companies House register. There still isn’t.
  3. As you can see, the ad proclaims: “As used by celebrities!” It also states: “Even well-known celebrities are wearing them.”
  4. I asked UK Direct Shop in an email to tell me which celebrities use its bracelet. In its reply the advertiser didn’t name any celebrities. UK Direct Shop wrote: “Unfortunately I am unable to disclose the names of any celebrities that use the Bio Mag Therapy Bracelet. This is due to the fact that the bracelet is a health product, and as such the celebrities that use the product do not wish to be identified as this would indicate that they are suffering from a health problem themselves. One of the key features of the bracelet is that it is discreet, this is a key reason why people that are in the public eye use this product as they do not wish to be seen as having health problems.”
  5. The advertiser’s answer is unacceptable. It should be able to substantiate its claims about celebrities using the product.
  6. The ASA agreed. On 12 April 2018, it told me in an email: “We contacted the advertiser, and they were unable to substantiate the claim concerning celebrities. They have agreed to remove the claim from their future advertising unless they are able to evidence it.”
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Leaflet for “detox foot patches” even worse than ads

  1. Today (18 April 2018) Health Broadcast Ltd, a fake limited company, has surpassed itself with a leaflet promoting the ridiculous “detox foot patches”. The leaflet is even more concerning than the firm’s national newspaper ads for same (see previous post).
  2. The leaflet was an insert in – you’ve guessed it – the Daily Mirror.
  3. For many reasons, the leaflet is shocking. For a start, it makes so many misleading health claims. Here I ignore those. Instead, I want to highlight something about the leaflet that means we can quickly dismiss the advertiser, without even considering the ludicrous health claims.
  4. The front of the leaflet proclaims “Detox while you sleep!”, “see press article inside”: Leaflet front back. The so-called article actually appears on the back of the leaflet, below the banner, “national press coverage”. As you can see, a newspaper, national or local, isn’t actually named. Funny that.
  5. What does the so-called article say? Well, the headline is certainly familiar, “Detox while you sleep!” As is the author, Sally Jennings. But then so, too, are the photo and content! That’s because what’s presented as an article in an unnamed national newspaper is in fact Health Broadcast Ltd‘s ad in the national press (see previous post) – but this time it isn’t identified as an ad.
  6. The presentation of the ad in the Mirror, remember, is highly troubling: it’s labelled “health report”, and creates the impression it’s an editorial feature written by Ms Jennings. Now it’s even worse in the leaflet, where the ad is presented as an article in the national press.
  7. The dishonesty is shocking. As I say, there’s no need to examine the preposterous health claims.

Yet another ad for “detox foot patches” in the Daily Mirror

  1. Today (17 April 2018) the Daily Mirror newspaper carried yet another full-page ad for the ridiculous “detox foot patches”: Daily Mirror 17 Apr 2018.
  2. Again, the advertiser is Health Broadcast Ltd, a fake limited company I first wrote about on 15 August 2017.
  3. In January 2018, Private Eye reported my linked exposés of national newspaper ads by Health Broadcast Ltd for “detox foot patches” (see 25 January 2018 post).
  4. Why does the Daily Mirror continue to show such disdain for its readers this way?

Fake doctor’s endorsement in national newspaper ad

  1. On 8 November 2017, I saw an unclear and opaque ad in the Daily Mirror newspaper. It was for Nytric EFX, a food supplement that allegedly improves “sexual performance” in men: Daily Mirror 8 Nov 2017. The advertiser identified itself as Stirling Health Ltd. I complained to the company about two issues in the ad. In each case its response was unsatisfactory. So I then complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s regulator of advertising.
  2. The first issue was that both the ad and the Stirling Health website (screen shot in Figure 1) display an endorsement of Nytric EFX by Dr Jack Johnson, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Yet I can’t find him on DoctorFinder when searching by name for Jack Johnson in state Massachusetts. DoctorFinder is the online doctor search tool from the American Medical Association. It includes “virtually every licensed physician in the United States” – “more than 814 000 doctors.”

    Figure 1. Dr Jack Johnson endorses Nytric EFX on Stirling Health website at 14 November 2017

  3. I asked Stirling Health in an email why Dr Jack Johnson, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA isn’t listed on DoctorFinder. Its response was unacceptable. It wrote: “I can confirm the doctors who endorse our products and adverts do not use thier (sic) real names to protect their identity and avoid infulxes (sic) of people trying to contact them, when its (sic) us that can assist witrh (sic) any queries.” As you can see, the response isn’t credible. It’s illiterate too. My reasonable suspicion is Dr Jack Johnson doesn’t exist.
  4. Emily Henwood of the ASA said in an email the company had told the regulator it would no longer use the testimonial from the alleged Dr Jack Johnson in its advertising. This was following involvement of the ASA compliance team.
  5. The second problem with the ad is: wheres Stirling Health Ltd registered, if it’s registered anywhere? There’s no UK-registered company called Stirling Health Ltd, according to Companies House records. The company said in an email “Stirling Health” (note: without the “Ltd”) was registered “in the US”. It told me the registered office address is in Florida, USA. It quoted the Florida address then on the Stirling Health” (again, no “Ltd”) website (https://web.archive.org/web/20170705024734/http://www.stirling-health.net/t/contactus). The company stated it isn’t actually registered in Florida, though, after I pointed out there’s no Florida-registered company called “Stirling Health Ltd” or “Stirling Health,” according to the official register at Sunbiz (http://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/).
  6. The company refused to disclose where exactly in the USA its registered, explaining in an email it was “confidential, and commercially sensitive” information. Again, the response would be laughable, if wasn’t so serious. Any legitimate business would be happy to both disclose its name and say where it’s registered. Both pieces of information should be public. In short, is Stirling Health Ltd a genuine company? If so, where exactly in the USA is it registered? It’s not enough to simply say “in the US”.
  7. The ASA’s response on this point was disappointing: the regulator wouldn’t be taking it further, said Ms Henwood in an email. She added: “The Code [the CAP Code] states that marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. For marketing communications that quote prices for advertised products, material information includes the identity (for example, a trading name) and geographical address of the marketer. While we appreciate your concern that it isn’t clear where the company is registered, we note that the advertisers have included a trading name and contact details for consumers to get in contact with them. Given this, we consider that the ad is unlikely to mislead consumers on the basis that you suggest and does not break the rules.”
  8. At date of publication the Stirling Health website continues not to disclose where the company is registered. One change, though: the Florida address has disappeared. It now specifies an address in central London: 88-90 Hatton Garden, London, EC1N 8PG (https://web.archive.org/web/20180206063513/http://www.stirling-health.net/t/contactus). This is merely the address of a virtual office, you won’t be surprised to learn.
  9. A fake limited company flogging dubious “health products” from national newspaper ads, and hiding behind a virtual office address – it reminds me of Health Broadcast Ltd, a firm I first wrote about on 15 August 2017. Private Eye recently reported my linked exposés of national newspaper ads by that fake limited company for “detox foot patches” (see last post).
  10. Oh, this isn’t the first time a Stirling Health Ltd ad for Nytric EFX has come to the attention of the ASA. In 2010, the regulator banned one of its ads for misleading health claims (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7195031/Advert-for-pills-that-guaranteed-sex-life-of-you-dreams-is-banned.html). It isn’t just on Health Broadcast Ltd where the Mirror continues to fail its readers, therefore. How much or how little due diligence did the newspaper do on the latest Stirling Health Ltd ad for Nytric EFX?
  11. Further evidence of how little: the Mirror’s excellent Andrew Penman wrote about Stirling Health Ltd in his column ten years ago, when the ASA again censured several, not just one, of its ads for misleading health claims (https://www.mirror.co.uk/opinion/money-opinion/p-s-investigates/triple-dose-of-health-rubbish-from-guernsey-534213).

Private Eye reports exposés of national newspaper ads by fake limited company for “detox foot patches”

  1. The current issue of Private Eye (1462) reports my linked exposés of national newspaper ads by a fake limited company for “detox foot patches” (see previous post and the reference there).
  2. Private Eye is the UK’s number one best-selling news and current affairs magazine.
  3. You won’t find the report – or much else from the magazine – on the Eye website because the online presence is minimal. Heres a scanned copy of the page from my subscription copy – see top right corner: Private Eye 1462.

Ad again for “detox foot patches” in Daily Mirror – despite Dr Miriam Stoppard’s warning

  1. On 19 December 2017, Daily Mirror health columnist Dr Miriam Stoppard rightly dismissed “detox foot patches” as a sham. But something she didn’t mention: her newspaper carried ads for them earlier last year (see 19 December 2017 post).
  2. Well, the same advertiser, Health Broadcast Ltd, is today (17 January 2018) back in the Mirror with a full-page ad for… “detox foot patches”: Daily Mirror 17 Jan 2018.
  3. Why does the Daily Mirror continue to fail its readers this way?

Dr Miriam Stoppard dismisses “detox foot patches” as a sham – but Daily Mirror carried ads for them earlier this year

  1. On 19 December 2017, Daily Mirror health columnist Dr Miriam Stoppard rightly dismissed “detox foot patches” as a sham: Daily Mirror 19 Dec 2017.
  2. But something she didn’t mention: her newspaper carried ads for them earlier this year. See, for example, this ad on 25 January 2017: Daily Mirror 25 Jan 2017 p.24. The same ad also appeared on 7 March 2017: Daily Mirror 7 Mar 2017 p.35.
  3. The advertiser is Health Broadcast Ltd, a company I wrote about on 15 August 2017. As I then pointed out, there’s no UK-registered company with that name, according to the Companies House register. Further, the company didn’t respond to emails asking why it isn’t on the Companies House register.
  4. My 15 August 2017 post describes my complaints to the Daily Mail newspaper after it persisted in publishing ads for Health Broadcast Ltd.