Homeopaths Find The Solution – Hire PR Consultants.

Under the banner of One Vision, One Voice you can watch the conference as it used a PR Consultant to brainstorm a set of ‘themes’ for how homeopathy should tackle its problems. There is nice insight at the end to see how they think they can counter the threats to their trade that are appearing globally from people realising that all they trade in is sugar pills.

It would appear that the desire to speak with a unified voice is stronger than their desire to address the serious criticisms made of them. The conference was organised under the auspices of the Homeopathic Action Trust – a charity funded by the Society of Homeopaths.

Now HAT has been severely criticised for its funding of AIDS and malaria trials in Africa. This is not just unethical, but murderous. You cannot treat these diseases in any meaningful way with sugar pills. We, of course, see no mention in this video of how PR might be used to tackle this problem. Such issues appear to be ignored. And yet we see homeopaths like John Melnychuk who believes he can treat autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation with superstitious nonsense mingling with registered doctor Dr Sara Eames, the President of the Faculty of Homeopaths, the supposedly sensible wing of the homeopaths.

Let me offer some free PR advice for homeopaths. When you address the real and serious criticisms that have been levelled at you, such as the homeopaths who travel to Africa to treat life threatening diseases with fantasies, then you might get a quieter life. Practice your hobby with restraint, a little humility and circumspection and you will see a lot of problems going away. I cannot believe this message has not yet sunk in.

On this theme…

30 Comments on Homeopaths Find The Solution – Hire PR Consultants.

  1. An illuminating post, thank you.
    The cumulative effect of irrational thinking, the belief that one is doing good and the vanity of the human ego is devastating.
    Do you happen to know of any erstwhile homeopaths who have seen the folly of their ways?

  2. I’ve sat through lots of seminars on branding, etc… Using this approach with homeopathy ignores one important thing. Homeopathy is not a “brand”. It is a bunch of ill-defined products and services offered by individuals and a small number of companies.

  3. Good grief.

    Lovin’ their ‘Science and Research’ statement:

    “Create a Scientific Advisory Committee
    Connect all research groups
    Clarify and simplify language used to communicate research”

    That’s right – completely ignore the elephant in the room.

  4. Hi, Milton. Yep, It’s me you’re looking for. I’m the only one that I know of. It took a lot of hard work to break the belief systems and cut out the thinking. I’m bound to have some places I still slide into it. Quackometer, gimpy and warhelmet have been a great help in that transition.

    Your assessment of irrational thinking, belief and ego seems accurate to me. I would add financial investment and status, too. In those communities where homeopathy is unchallenged the homeopath believes that they can do better than doctors and they see themselves as professionals.

    All the veneer of respectablity but dodgier than Arthur Daly. A classic image over substance situation. (Isn’t that what PR is?)

    * For the youth – Arthur Daly was a dodgy second-hand car salesman in ‘Minder’ in which Dennis Waterman starred and sang the theme song. As an intereting point, one of the Colleges I attended actually moved to an ex car-showroom in North Finchley. It has to be possible that someone’s subconscious was telling the truth there. (Only joking!)

  5. “It would appear that the desire to speak with a unified voice is stronger than their desire to address the serious criticisms made of them.”

    You don’t understand. They are homeopaths: making up a load of vacuous PR gobbledygook *is* addressing the serious criticisms. 😉

  6. Logo suggestions
    ‘I Can’t Believe it’s not Science’ or perhaps ‘This is not just a cheap useless sugar pill, this is a completely useless and expensive sugar pill’ … no?

  7. It’s disturbing watching it, but most commenters seem to have missed the real point, which is that a PR/Branding approach WILL work, if we (rationalists) don’t have a similar simple, moving message to counter their nonsense. As one of the last speakers says, what they’ve discovered in branding is ‘powerful and tangible’.

    Sadly, the war against homeopathy won’t be won in scientific trials, it will be won, or lost, in the media.

    • Lee
      There are some very material reasons why homeopathy will continue to reduce in influence.

      * In the 90’s it grew quickly. No-one was challenging it. It was fashonable. Just your sending whispers of doubt reduces the influence. Fewer people will want to spend money on it if they are not sure – and the PR is about us spending our money.

      * Recession – George Osborne hitting the middle class pocket hits their market. This is about middle class money, predominantly middle-class women’s money. Keep up the fight to get homeopathy away from taxpayer money.

      * Generations. Most students at homeopathy college in the 90s would have been in their 30s and 40s. Children of the 1950s and 60s. We were a very lucky generation that had many opportunities, and, as a result, were an idealistic generation. Homeopathy can present aguments that appeal to idealism.
      My children and young people since the 80s have a much harder time than we did. In general they are less idealistic, in the dreamy sense, than we were.
      The average age to buy a house is 38 – how do you buy a house and have children?
      They walk into life with massive debts around their necks.
      They can have degrees and be glad to get a job in Tesco.
      These people will be less likely to spend their hard eaned money on something they are not sure of.

      The market is contracting and will continue to contract as we old idealists die off and a younger generation grow. The material situation to produce our level of dreamy idlism does not exist.

      Keep doing what you do well, Lee, and don’t worry about PR. If the market ain’t got the cash, no amount of PR will sell it. Without that cash homeopathy will shrink. It is inevitable.

      • “This is about middle class money”

        Edzard Ernst has reported a correlation between spending on CAM and sales of BMWs.

    • I disagree.

      From a marketing/PR perspective, it is the pronouncements and antics of certain homeopaths that are potentially far more damaging than anything skeptics might do. Unless UK homeopathy acts to either silence the shrill, mad voices or excludes them from the big happy family of UK homeopathy, they are walking time bombs.

  8. isn’t it weird? Those people get up every morning, look in the mirror and see a homeopath looking back them. And they think that’s normal. They just don’t see themselves as odd little cultists but as actual medical professionals.

  9. Good news!

    These folks are actually thinking about the issues, and beginning to realise that a spot of research would help their cause.

    Slowly (too slowly for my liking, but evolution is like that) they will come to spot the elephant and make the progress they truly crave.

    Some might train and qualify as regular healthcare practitioners, others – concentrate on their councilling skills, and others concerned to sell a brand to the public might re-brand “Homeopathy” as ” A powerful system for helping patients take advantage of placebo effects”.

    Of course, some may want to take advantage of the gullible and develop a brand which makes fraudulent claims and enables charlatans to cloak themselves in a veneer of respectability. I can’t imagine any of the folks at this conference had that intent.

    I do note however that the meeting was sponsored by Big Charma (the Complementary Healthcare and Alternative Remedies Medicine producers), so they are not as “independent” as they might wish to think.

    I note they are going to create a “Homeopathy worked for me” website.

    Does any one have the energy to create a “Homeopathy did not work for me ” site?

  10. Depressingly, I recognise the location from the outdoor shots: this event was held at Churchill College in Cambridge. Some of it just outside the room where some of my most influential physics education took place, if I’m not mistaken.

    Not that I’m naive enough to think that college conference/fundraising offices seriously consider turning down ANY paying conference, but still a shame to see an educational institution founded specifically to emphasise high-quality science teaching and research hosting a PR weekend for notorious woo-mongers. I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if they had been forming that profoundly symbolic circle in Brian Josephson’s garden.

    Andy

  11. @Zeno

    “I knew their walk on the lawn (at 6m 36s) to ‘contemplate the world around them’ reminded me of something…”

    Indeed.

    It was about at that point I felt the bile really tickling the back of my throat.

    They really do fancy themselves as the philosopher-scientists or our era, uniquely competent to deal with life’s Important Issues.

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