Despite a slew of studies refuting claims that the Power Balance bracelet enhances athletic performance, celebrities continue to endorse the sports inspired jewelry and consumers continue to buy them. When it was first released, Power Balance claimed that the hologram stickers located on the bracelet optimized the wearer’s frequencies and led to improved strength, balance, and flexibility. Sports greats like Shaquille O’Neal and Drew Brees signed lucrative endorsement deals to promote the product propelling the bracelets to cult status among young athletes nationwide.
Recently, Power Balance admitted to the falsities behind the claims. The company accepted full responsibility for fraudulent advertising and carefully re-worded the marketing related to the bracelet’s capabilities. Interestingly, the wrist accessory continues to sell (and sell well!) in sporting goods stores throughout the country. This might seem contradictory, but just like a rabbit’s foot or lucky socks can improve an athlete’s performance due to the placebo effect, Power Balance bracelets could potentially work in much the same way. Manufacturers state that the effects of the bracelet are not felt by everyone and even offer a money-back guarantee if the wearer is unsatisfied with the results. It seems however, that if someone believes in the power behind the Power Balance bracelet, their athletic performance might truly improve. This improvement could then be attributed to the product regardless of any proven effectiveness (or lack thereof) as a sports aid.
Regardless of whether the Power Balance bracelet offers a real and measurable effect on the wearer, many athletes will continue to sport the bracelet for purely aesthetic reasons, which, in our consumer-driven culture, is more valuable than the validity of its scientific background.