Power Balance is a brand of hologram bracelet once claimed by its manufacturers and vendors to "use holographic technology" to "resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body", and increase sporting ability. Numerous independent studies of the device found it to be completely ineffective at improving athletic performance, and the manufacturer was forced to retract its claims in 2010.
The product was promoted through paid celebrity endorsements and viral marketing rather than published scientific work. Power Balance bands became a fad among professional sportsmen in 2010, leading one journalist to say that "a growing number of professional sportsmen and their attendants are starting to sound like New Age crystal healers."
Power Balance initially denied that they made any medical or scientific claims about their products, but after an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruling, Power Balance were forced to recognize and retract their medical claims. The company has been the focus of significant criticism, particularly for false advertising. It has been described as "like the tooth fairy" and a "very successful marketing scam".
In December 2010, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) required Power Balance to do several things, including making the following statement admitting they "engaged in misleading conduct":
"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 in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974. If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologize and offer a full refund."
In January 2011, a suit was filed against the company for fraud, false advertising, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. Power Balance agreed in September 2011 to settle the class action lawsuit. The settlement terms entitled Power Balance purchasers to a full $30 refund plus $5 shipping. A hearing to finalize the agreement was canceled after Power Balance filed for Chapter 11 protection. In November 2011, Power Balance filed for bankruptcy after suffering a net loss of more than $9 million that year.
Jason Damata of Power Balance LLC allayed rumors of Power Balance closing down in a November 2011 New York Daily News article. "PB is actually in the process of launching a new product, dubbed performance mouth gear in markets over the next few weeks."