Jan 25, 2011, 6:30 PM EDT
Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom both wear Power Balance bracelets during games. Maybe because they both believe in the product, but it turns out they are also both paid celebrity endorsers of said product.
Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom endorse a bogus “performance technology” bracelet that wrongfully claims to “optimize the body’s natural energy flow,” according to a federal class action lawsuit filed against the pair….
But according to lead plaintiff Brian Casserly, the $79.95 bracelet is “nothing short of snake oil”. He is seeking statutory and punitive damages for consumer fraud, false advertising, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
“Despite defendants’ representations that the hologram with enhance consumers’ ‘strength, balance and flexibility,’ it is biologically incapable of doing so,” the lawsuit states.
Let’s be clear: Putting Shaq and Odom in this lawsuit is a publicity stunt. It’s about embarrassing the company to get a settlement. Ultimately it’s not about the NBA players, it’s about getting money out of the California company and its owners (Josh and Tony Rodarmel and Keith Kato, who also all are named in the lawsuit).
To put it kindly, the Power Balance bracelet is a controversial product. The company sells wristbands that “use holographic technology” to “work with your body’s natural energy field” to improve balance and athletic performance.
Laugh if you want — and you probably should, the company had to admit a lack of scientific data, or just watch this video taking down the Power Balance in-person sales pitch — but a lot of NBA players wear these. The Phoenix Suns Jared Dudley tweeted a while back that the Phoenix Suns training staff is a backer of it, but Manu Ginobili called it a “placebo.” Which shows is that Manu is smart off the court, too.
The Power Balance connection to the NBA is not going anywhere, however — the company just signed a five-year naming rights deal in Sacramento for what had been known for decades as ARCO Arena. Which means more years of debating if a hologram on your wrist helps your balance.
If the guys in the Power Balance marketing department believe in the old “any publicity is good publicity” adage then they have been killing it lately.
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