When it became clear that people would fork over cash for some mylar glued to a rubber band, entrepreneurs wanted a piece of the action.
The proprietors of Power Balance proved there was a gold mine in fraudulently marketed wristbands. The company raked in millions using celebrities to promise customers that their product would enhance power, balance, flexibility, and endurance.
How can a wristband do this? It can't. Power Balance claimed that a frequency of 7.83 Hz was embedded in the band's hologram, and that 7.83 Hz was the frequency of the body's energy field.
This is all very impressive, except that the body has no "energy field," so it doesn't resonate at 7.83 anything. And you can't "embed a frequency" in a hologram if you wanted to.
The trickery used in the demonstrations showing the efficacy of the wristbands is well understood. (A complete take-down lesson plan with videos exposing the trickery can be found at Skepticism in the Classroom.)
Take-downs and exposés aside, Power Balance has raked in so much cash they could afford to purchase the naming rights to Sacramento's Arco Arena, now known as Power Balance Pavilion.
And Michigan's block M. My own alma mater bit on this BS, sacrificing integrity for the promise of a shekel. Power Force can delight in having the tacit approval of major research institutions—institutions with Nobel laureates in science.
Power Force doesn't claim its wristbands harness the power of frequency-embedded holograms. No, they leverage the magic of "negative ion technology." They don't detail exactly what negative ion technology is; they presume buyers know that it's something real.
If you visit the Power Force website, clicking on the "Power behind Power Force" tab gets you to this:
Power Force Apparel powered by 8ight is the official sports band provider for your favorite colleges and universities, providing officially licensed products bearing each school's logo and colors.
While Power Force makes no medical or scientific claims, negative ion technology can be found in all Power Force products. The pride that comes from athletes and fans supporting their schools with Power Force products is beneficial to everyone that wears them.
Support your school and your team 365 days a year with Power Force Apparel Powered by 8ight.
One sees the "Powered by 8ight" tag line all over the Power Force site. What is 8ight? Take a look. Mind you, no medical or scientific claims are made. None whatsoever.
If you can watch that without throwing up in your mouth, I salute you!
So which institutions of higher learning have traded their integrity for snake-oil cash? In the Big Ten, it's Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska (!), Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Somehow Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, and Ohio State resisted the merch-licensing instinct on this scam.
In the Pac 10, the suckers are Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State. Kudos to UCLA, USC, and Stanford for having self-respect.
A complete list of NCAA sell-outs can be found at Power Force's catalog.
I no longer support my alma mater when they reach out for donations. I kindly assure them (via their telemarketers and direct mail solicitations) that they'll earn far more money from their deal with
By the way, nothing in this post should be interpreted as libel toward anyone or anything. I am powered by skepticism and critical thinking.