You may have seen the colorful rubber wristbands around. They're about as trendy with celebs and athletes as flannel and plaid are with hipsters.
Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers. Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets. David Beckham of fashion and futbol. Skateboarding wunderkind Ryan Sheckler. Music magnate P. Diddy. Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks. They all wear 'em. And the list goes on and on.
They're supposed to improve flexibility, balance and strength by "optimizing the body's natural energy flow." How do the bracelets do this? Through the power of a hologram. Yes, a hologram. But not just any hologram--one that's been "designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body."
We call bullshit. And recently, so, too, did the company.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is to thank for the coming clean of the hologram-producing company. The commission believed all the claims for the product to be misleading and mandated that Power Balance produce scientific evidence proving the wristbands' so-called benefits.
The Laguna Niguel-based company had none and released this statement: "We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims."
The wristbands sell for $29.95. In 2007, when Power Balance introduced the product, it sold $8,000 of merchandise. Final sales figures from 2010 are expected to top $35 million.
That's one hell of a financially beneficial hoax.
Power Balance has said it is willing to issue refunds.
Based on all the testimonials on the company's website, as well as people whom the Weekly know use it, science or no science, the wristband seems to work for some, even if it is just a placebo effect.
Coming soon: Weekly slap bracelets that cure the common hangover.