8. Power Balance Goes Bankrupt

Turns out there’s not a lot of science behind those cool wristbands

Power Balance     Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

In 2010, it seemed like everyone was wearing a $30 silicone bracelet from Power Balance that promised to improve strength, balance, and flexibility. Lamar Odom, Shaquille O’Neill, and Willow Koerber all hawked the wristbands. 

The company’s claim, according to the L.A. Times, was that its “bracelets contain ‘hologram technology adopted from Eastern philosophies that is believed to improve and enhance people’s lives.’” Fitness fanatics bought enough for Power Balance to turn a $11.7 million profit last year.  But in November 2011, the California-based company announced that it was filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy and was  $9 million in debt. What happened?

Simple: Unhappy consumers sued the company for false advertising.

Power Balance eventually admitted that their fitness claims weren’t based on any scientific evidence and settled the lawsuit for between $1 million and $57 million, more than enough to damage both the company’s reputation and earnings. 

But don’t expect Power Balance’s dishonesty and legal troubles to keep them out of business. The company says it’ll focus its efforts on other athletic gear, like mouth guards. And as of December 15, bracelets are still for sale on the Power Balance website.

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