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05 January 2011

Power Balance, You Jackasses...

Cross-posted from the Winnipeg Skeptics blog.

So, remember how Power Balance was forced to repudiate their claims in Australia? Well, a statement recently went up at the main site* that says this:

Power Balance products work. The existing reports out there are fundamentally incorrect. Power Balance did not make any claims that our product does not perform.


The belief of thousands of consumers and athletes who wear our products are not wrong.

Say it with me, folks: argumentum ad populum.

A preliminary study recently conducted on the product's performance variables was commissioned and the findings have determined that the product does in fact provide a "statistically significant" result on the wearer's performance. We are committed to further evaluating the product's performance parameters so that we can continue to provide products that enhance the wearer's lifestyle.

A preliminary study? Whoop-de-freakin'-do.

I would like to see this study. Was it in-house or was it external? Was it properly double- or triple-blinded? Can it be independently replicated? How many participants were there? Was the control adequate? Were the metrics to tested (e.g., strength and flexibility) selected beforehand or after the trial had been conducted (post hoc theorising in keeping with the Texas sharpshooter fallacy)?

Numerous actual consumer testimonies supporting the wristbands' performance were provided to the ACCC by Power Balance. Despite that, they requested Power Balance remove marketing claims until it could provide them with their narrow criteria of randomized, double-blind scientific studies that supports the use of those marketing phrases.

Right. If you think that the plural of "anecdote" is "data", or that testimonials are sufficient evidence of efficacy, you are an idiot and you have no business selling anyone anything. And they impugn the "their narrow criteria of randomized, double-blind scientific studies"? To be fair, such studies do reek of Western scientific imperialism.

Power Balance, listen to me: you have demonstrated that either you are self-deluded morons or you are appallingly unethical scam-artists. You use deceptive and fraudulent marketing techniques to trick people into buying your products, taking advantage of a host of logical fallacies and cognitive biases.

Stop it.

Hat tip to Brian Dunning on Facebook.

Edit: As mentioned in the footnote, Power Balance's statement doesn't even link back to the retraction that it is talking about. Neurologica informs us that, in a further effort to hide their own honesty, Power Balance has removed links to their Australian site from their own main page at! Does their blatant dishonesty know no bounds?

Edit: Power Balance has modified the statement on their site to make themselves seem a little less petulant. Unsuccessfully, in my opinion. Here's the original:

Here's the new one:

Huzzah for screencaps! (Click to embiggen.)

Yeah. You're still douchebags.

* You can find it at "" in the "statement" directory. (Connect the two with a slash.) I won't link to it directly, as many of us still hope to Google Bomb "Power Balance" into linking to the retraction—not only that, but the "statement" refuses to link to their retraction, and two can play at that game!

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