Friday, April 22, 2011

Would you like to help out my friend, the Nigerian prince?

Would you be interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge?

I am starting a Ponzi scheme.  Want to invest?

If you answered YES to all of these questions have I got a product for you!  


Basically, Power Balance wristbands are magic bracelets that you can buy for around $30 (they look like they cost roughly a dollar to make) and they make you a better athlete.  They contain a thin polyester film hologram that, according to the company's website, "is programmed through a proprietary process, which is designed to mimic Eastern philosophies that have been around for hundreds of years."  What's that I hear?  Oh, it's nonsense talk!

Power Balance used to claim right out that their wristbands improved strength, balance, and flexibility, but then the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (one of my favorite commissions) determined that these comments were misleading.  So what do they say the bracelets do now that they can only imply they improve performance?  Their site explains that the special hologram "reacts differently for each person."  You've just got to "give it a try and see what it does for you."

A bunch of different nerd groups have done blind tests with the wristbands and found that they have no affect on an athlete's performance.  While some people might think they really are getting stronger and faster when they wear them, this is actually something called the "Placebo effect."
If you want to look less cool, get this wristband.

So why are people buying these wristbands?  It is because they are dumb.  Hah, hah, I'm just kidding (not really).  This is really an example of great marketing.  Power Balance gets a bunch of athletes to say the wristbands work for them and tons of people buy the wristbands hoping they'll make them stronger and faster.

"There is no doubt in my mind that with this product I am performing at a different level... it helps keep me at the top of my game."- Matthew Stafford (frequently injured Detroit Lions quarterback)

Shaq loves Power Balance!

And Vitamin Water.

And Icy Hot Patches.

"I don't really do a lot of testimonials, but this really works!"- Shaquille O'Neal (not kidding, that's what his Power Balance Athlete Profile says)

How can you start a company like Power Balance that scams people out of their money?

Let's look at the steps in this example:

1. I plant apple trees.

2. Apples grow and I pick them (Granny Smith and Red Delicious only).

3. I start a company called Jeffrey's Apples.

4. I say that these apples are the best apples in the world and that eating the apples has different reactions for different people.  (I do not say directly that they make you better because that would be a lie.)  Even though each apple only costs me ten cents, I sell them for $20 each.

5. I pay famous athletes like Mark Sanchez, Tiger Woods, and Shaquille O'Neal to eat the apples and say that they make them feel stronger and faster.

Shaquille O'Neal LOVES apples!

6. Everyone buys Jeffrey's Apples.  I become very rich.

Basically, Power Balance has done exactly what Jeffrey's Apples could do if it existed.  I do not like apples though, so I will never create such a company.  Just kidding!  Everyone loves apples.  

*After I wrote this, I realized that I am giving Power Balance free publicity with this article and that everyone who reads my blog (Cindy mainly) will now know about them.  Oh, well.