Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Advertising standards, the internet and "ghost and entity removal"

There was some publicity recently about the fact that the UK Advertising Standards Authority is to extend its remit to cover online advertising also. Surprisingly, however, there appeared to be very little awareness of the fact that the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland has explicitly covered internet advertising since 2001. (Rather than 2009, as the Sunday Business Post suggested.)

To honour this long record of regulating internet advertising, I thought I'd share a recent ASAI decision on internet advertising- one which considered amongst other things "Shamanic Healing", "Angel Therapy" and - best of all - "Ghost and Entity Removal". The complaint related to an Irish website Seventh Heaven Healing and the variety of "spiritual" services it offered. According to the decision, "the complainant challenged all the claims in relation to distant healing and medical advice from the spirit world. He questioned the ability to arrange for divine intervention and requested that proof be provided for all claims."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ASAI wasn't persuaded by the website owner's claims that she could not prove her "claims on healing an individual without disclosing personal information about the people in question" and that "as a medical intuitive she uses her mediumship ability to help individuals remove energy blocks on an energetic scale". Consequently it ordered that "the advertisement must not run in its current format again".

As to how effective that ruling has been, judge for yourself at (Warning - autoplay saccharine music.) Or, if you're in a hurry, jump straight to the "Ghost and Entity Removal" page.

For a related ASAI ruling on "powerful energy over the phone" and "healing" in relation to cancer and "sick babies" see this decision.


  1. What a thoughtful and helpful post - thank you. Does, Ireland have specific provisions regarding online commercial advertising targeting children?

  2. Online advertising in relation to children is governed on a self-regulatory basis by the ASAI code - and is now partially covered by law in the Irish implementation of the Audio Visual Media Services Directive. The relevant statutory instrument is available here. See Regulations 7 (advertising) and 8 (product placement).

    Apart from these there is no general Irish control of advertising to children though restrictions do apply to particular products such as cigarettes.