We call it: Skeptical Investigation. (Trademark pending.)
That truBrain, a “premium nootropics solution” (translation: a bunch of pills containing big-worded substances), can improve memory and focus, and basically make you the encyclopedic rival of Scarlett Johansson in Her. Ish.
The bolder claim: that it can replace your need for coffee.
We gave a social-media-obsessed colleague the box of pill packets and instructed him to take a packet in the morning, another packet at night, and repeat daily. And we strongly implied that there’d better be magic in his presentation about the future of digital media.
Then we placed said colleague in front of a phone, a tablet and a laptop filled with all manner of digital distractions—including but not limited to Super Bowl commercial teasers, Wikipedia and tweets about Pharrell’s hat at the Grammys.
Upon completion, our investigator reported feeling “more alert than usual late into the night, but otherwise pretty normal.” So that’s... something.
As for whether this could eradicate a need for coffee...
Just don’t quit your day job, science.