Power Balance Wristbands – Back in the News With More Nonsense

January 17, 2011

By Terry Smiljanich:
Power Balance, the company that promotes its product line of bracelets with holograms, was forced by the Australian consumer protection agency to admit the following in a disclaimer:

In our advertising we stated that Power Balance wristbands improved your strength, balance and flexibility. We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct .  .  .  [under Australian law].

Despite this admission, the company is doing quite well, thank you. In yet another example of how gullibility can be made profitable, it has just been announced that Power Balance is buying the naming rights to Arco Stadium in Sacramento, California, where the Sacramento Kings NBA team play. Yes, “Power Balance Stadium,” flush from record sales, will be hosting many professional sports and other community events.

“We are thrilled to be partners with Power Balance,” said Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. “This is a great collaboration for the entire Kings franchise and we are particularly excited in this economy to be able to sign a multi-year agreement with a company on Power Balance’s trajectory.”

Indeed, the CNBC Network named the Power Balance Bracelet the “Sports Product of the Year” for 2010, and Amazon.com has stated these plastic bracelets with holograms on them were one of its top five best selling items this holiday season. Many professional athletes claim to wear them because they improve their strength, flexibility and balance.

In a recent press release, the company’s President Keith Kato stated: “The mission of Power Balance has always been to develop and deliver quality products that enhance people’s lives. Our products are based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many holistic and Eastern philosophies. Frankly, we know there will always be critics of new technologies, but our products are used by those with open minds who experience real results. Our company is absolutely committed to further evaluating the technology behind its products’ performance so that we can continue to offer products that enhance people’s lifestyle.”

“New technology”? Holograms have been around since the 1950’s, and the last time we looked, plastic bracelets have been around at least as long as that. Holograms work by using scattered light off of a flat surface. Holograms are on many plastic driver’s licenses and credit cards, so most of us are already “wearing holograms.”

And how does Power Balance respond to the admission forced on it by the Australian government that there is “no credible scientific evidence” to support its claims and that it engaged in misleading conduct? Its press release states:  Contrary to recent assertions in the Australian press, Power Balance has made no claims that our product does not perform. True enough. It only admitted that there is no credible scientific evidence to support its scientific claims regarding holograms and “body frequencies.”

Let’s make this as plain as we can: wearing a plastic wristband with a cheap hologram on it will not “optimize the body’s natural energy flow,” whatever that vague statement means, nor will it “resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body,” whatever that pseudoscientific phrase means, nor does broadly referencing “holistic and Eastern philosophies” add any credibility to such claims. The only thing wearing this $29.95 item will optimize is the obviously healthy bottom line of the Power Balance company.

All the testimonials in the world from “thousands of athletes” will not prove the claims of this company, any more than statements from millions of people that wearing a rabbit’s foot brings them luck. Australia’s consumer watchdogs did their job. Where are this country’s consumer protection agencies in the midst of all this nonsense?