I told myself that I was not going to write about Advocare anymore, and I said that for a couple of reasons. The most important reason directly relates to my family. I know my brother has generously expressed his approval of sharing my feelings about Advocare with the world, and I appreciate him trying to make it easy on me. But unfortunately it doesn’t. I respect and love all my family members, and their drive to succeed in all they do. Even with their approval it is difficult to be on the other side of something they believe in.
The other reason I told myself to stop writing is because I feel like nobody is listening. I tell the same true story over and over again about a company that has promoted a disingenuous market plan. You know the story, the one where distributors fail only if they do not follow the marketing plan to its end. I have shown people the truth using viable links that the marketing plan does not work. I have provided proof that the market plan leads to market saturation for 99% every year, but people keep selling the same bull crap year in and year out. The only people that win are the 1% to 3% and Advocare. My opinion does not mean anything to anyone. But I give you facts, not opinion. Everything found on this blog is based on truth. It may not always be perfectly written, but it is the truth. Why do you think Advocare has not tried to threaten me with a lawsuit? Nothing on my blog is false or misleading. It is all based on facts and supported with viable proof. So why am I writing this article? I guess there is always hope that people that have been taken by this company will step forward and tell the truth. Let Advocare file a lawsuit against you, and fight them based on first amendment rights. What company has the right to place a clause in a contract preventing you from telling the truth about misleading marketing plan? That is why I am writing this, among other reasons.
I watched the ESPN video interview of Advocare and it made me sick. I believe Mina Kimes and Tom Farrey were asking Allison Levy the right questions, but allowed her to circumvent the truth without rebuttal questions. Why? Tom asked Allison if “she thought Advocare was using athletes to buy credibility that may not be there”. It was a great question in my opinion. What he was asking her was is Advocare trying to create a false association between the athlete’s success, and the product. She said absolutely not and went on some tangent about how Advocare is a 20 year business and how they are very proud of their product. Allison, he asked you if the product is what made Drew play so damn good. The answer was no! Drew was breaking records at Purdue way before he was introduced to Advocare. According to Drew, he did not start taking Advocare until 2002 when he started playing for the San Diego Chargers. Let me guess, it was Advocare that healed his shoulder and allowed him to win big games.
The next question he asked Allison was “what percent of your top 3% earners are new to that 3%, versus those folks that have been there awhile”? Allison replied saying that “people that are in the 3% work very hard to build their Advocare business. Some do it quickly because they are an entrepreneur and they recognize Advocare has a great product to sell, and they spend a lot of time and effort doing so”. Once again, she completely avoids the question. Seems like a simple question to me Allison. How many each year are new to the 3%? I mean, the number does not really change from year to year. Every year only 1-3% earned money out of the less than 200,000 distributors that received a check from Advocare. That number has not changed in 20 years. Every year Allison, only 1 to 3% earn money. That has been the same for over 20 years. How many of those in the 3% last year also were in the year before? That is what he was asking you Allison. Easy question and you did everything you can to circumvent it. I think he knows that someone that just joined could possible make it to the 3% level, but how many actually stay there?
Then he finishes his portion of the interview with bringing attention to the Federal Trade Commission. He asked if Advocare was a pyramid scheme. Of course she said no, and went on to tell Tom how Advocare is a direct sales industry with products. She said it was an alternative channel to sell Advocare. Last time I checked it was the only channel. But I am not going to waste your time with the redundant bull crap on how they provide training to distributors and how sales are to customers (end users). Most of us are well aware that distributor and customer can mean the same thing in Advocare. Then Mina Kime’s steps in to ask some questions.
Mina starts out by asking Allison if Advocare is a Christian company, and of course she replied with a big no. Then Allison goes on to say that the first principle is honor God through faith, family, and friends. She does end saying that they do have religious distributors and that Advocare does not have restrictions like that. Like what? Just say you do not discriminate against religious people. Allison said the aforementioned even though I offered actual proof (case law) that proves Advocare told Danny McDaniel that he could no longer preach at Advocare meetings. Once again Advocare is saying that we accept all types of people, even religious ones, but prevent them from incorporating it into their business. We are not your employer, but yet we can tell you not to do things, such as preach at your own meetings.
Then Mina tells her that 2.8% made money every year and that around 150,000 received a check according to Advocare income disclosure chart. Mina asked, “Wouldn’t it reason that they are pursuing the business if they received a check”? Allison replied with absolutely not, because some of those could be selling casually to a friend or a coworker, and are not trying to make significant money. Or they are just looking to make a little extra cash. Basically she said the vast majority buy in for the discount and enjoy the product. Or did they buy in because they believed the bull crap about making money that is being duplicated by other distributors. Well Mina, maybe you should have directed her attention to the fact that there are over 400 thousand other distributors that did not earn a check, and you should ask Allison wouldn’t it be more intuitive to assume those distributors are the ones buying in for the discount. It is actually 442,167 according to Advocare. According to Allison, the 3% that find success is due to hard work, and the others are in it for the discount or are not trying hard enough. I guess we could assume that the others are just selling the product and not recruiting. That would lead to other questions needing to be answered. To sum that up for you, just in case it got a little confusing. There are 169,401 people that received a check, and of those people 3% earn a profitable income. There are actually around 550 thousand distributors all together, but only 170 thousand or so earned money from Advocare, and only 3% could live off the income. It is a little confusing. If you go to the Advocare page I provided you can look at the charts for yourself. Apparently they are calling distributors discount customers (More on that later).
Tom asked about the bullet proof shield and that was deflected as being a means to direct questions back to Advocare. I know what the bullet proof shield is, and so does she. The famous line to use is “Well, I don’t know about that but what I do know is”. It is used when questions are asked about the business that neither distributor nor Advocare can answer. Questions such as where can we find the peer reviewed studies that prove Advocare is safe for its intended use, or the years of testing for safety and effectiveness. Allison said that Advocare has a plethora of information on their website and the bullet proof shield is to ensure that distributors do not say anything that is misleading. I find it interesting that Advocare can say misleading things, and add little disclaimers on the bottom. But they do not want their distributors saying misleading things. The last time I checked, Advocare offers no viable information on their website about research.
Then I went on to read Mina Kime’s article titled “Drew Brees Has a Dream He’d Like to Sell You”. The first thing I would like to say is that not only did I provide some information to Mina, but so did Advo-Truth Facebook. Although I am not looking for any credit for offering information, I thought she would at the least give Advo a little promotional spot light. Other than that, the article was written very well as usual. There are some areas that bothered me, and I thought maybe Mina would push some buttons a little bit but she didn’t. For example, Allison avoids using the term MLM, and prefers direct sales. The following is a quote from Mina’s article explaining why Allison prefers to avoid using MLM: (I am assuming this is Allison’s reasoning)
“It's also less controversial. While MLMs do rely on direct sales of products to customers, they also pay their salespeople commissions based on their recruits' purchases and, in turn, on the purchases of their recruits' recruits. These chains -- known as "downlines" -- continue to grow as long as members sign new salespeople, so some distributors can reap significant earnings without selling much on their own. This innovation, which kept MLMs afloat as traditional direct sellers fizzled out (remember encyclopedia salesmen?), also sent some companies down a slippery legal slope. Because MLMs reward people for recruiting others, they can run the risk of mutating into pyramid schemes -- illegal scams in which new members, who often make big initial buy-ins, are constantly sought so their money can be funneled up to the original members”.
I am not sure I understand what the difference is Allison. Just because we change the shape of a car, and rename it to Ford, does not make it something other than a car. Direct sales implies that distributors are selling to end users, and those end users are not distributors. So let me break it down for you so that it is easier to understand “Allison”.
Direct Sales Y Y
Recruit Others Y Y
Recruit’s Pay Sign on Fee (Invest) Y Y
Earn from other Recruit’s Sales Y Y
Recruits Duplicate the process Y Y
Business Structure is multilevel Y Y
Is that a little clearer for you Allison? I hate to be the one to tell you that there are no significant differences between MLM and direct sales. The only way anyone can purchase an Advocare product is to sign on as a distributor, or buy directly from a distributor. The grand illusion is that distributors that do not earn a check are wholesale customers or discount customers. No Allison, I do not believe that would be correct. They are distributors that are not recruiting. Because they have not recruited anyone, they do not earn a check from you. That in and of itself does not mean they are not selling to other people, and possibly making a profit. It also does not make them a customer, but I will get to that in a little bit. But for some reason Advocare has elected not to share the sales stats for the 97 percent that do not make money from Advocare. I believe it would be easy enough to provide based on their purchases and proof of sales, especially now that they offer data regarding retail customers. They have over 300,000 according to Advocare stats, also included on the Advocare link. All distributors are required to show sales receipts right? You do know that you are responsible to guard against product overloading? You’re an attorney you should know that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Please allow me to explain Allison.
Advocare is a company that only sells to people that has purchased a distributors kit. A distributor that buys from you is not a customer, they are an independent distributor. Because all distributors sign the same contract, they are all distributors, regardless of their intent or yours. You do not know if they are selling or just using the product and it really does not matter. It can be inferred that you are selling the distributorship, with the idea that they will resell the product. Not to mention there are definitions within federal law that determines the final resolution. Please, allow me to explain further.
If you take a look at the FDA website you will notice that they have a definition for wholesale distributor (discount customer). Here is a quote from the statute:
t) Wholesale distributor means any person (other than the manufacturer or the initial importer) who distributes a device from the original place of manufacture to the person who makes the final delivery or sale of the device to the ultimate consumer or user.
There are other definitions that are not federal but come to the same conclusion such as the following from Google:
“Wholesaling, jobbing, or distributing is the sale of goods or merchandise to retailers; to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users; or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services. In general, it is the sale of goods to anyone other than a standard consumer.
I could offer you a million more Allison but they all lead to the same conclusion. Your wholesale distributor (discount customer) is a distributor that is expected to sell to the end user, and is not a customer. I think I might find someone that can calculate whether most of your profits are in fact from recruited distributors, selling extra materials, and from so called training events and not customers. That would put Advocare right in the pyramid scheme category. Subtract the cost of manufacturing, and tell me how much you are actually making off each distributor kit. Please do not tell me Advocare makes nothing because that is not how business works. You make a little bit, recruiting distributor makes a little bit, and so on and so on.
If you want to hear Mina talk more about this subject you can listen to her here where she is a guest on a radio show. I guess I expected her to be more aggressive, but I also understand that she has to try and remain neutral. I understand there are many people using this product that truly like it and may not be selling it. But that is not what the company is about, nor do they know or care about anything but themselves in my opinion. The facts support that theory. Let me sum this whole thing up so we all can got on to something else.
Allison tells us that Advocare is not a religious organization but yet tells Mina the following:
" Levy says. That brand (advocare) aligns perfectly with the quarterback's reputation: Family man. Philanthropist. Devout Christian.”
How exactly does he align perfectly when you claim Advocare is not a religious organization? The only area you guys align is in the business department. You both are willing to sell your souls to the devil for your own personal gain. If Advocare cared about other people you would sell the product on the market. If Drew cared about his fans he would not stand by the deceptive business model used by Advocare. Yes, Advocare has a product people want, but that does not negate the company’s responsibility, and the distributor’s responsibility to perform business with integrity and honesty. To tell people that the product is safe without actually performing meaningful test is not aligning with societal beliefs. Listen Drew, and Allison, 3% every year make money. Please explain to me why that number never seems to change.
If you people want to keep buying the bull crap that someone is telling you or that you are telling yourself, then so be it. If you bought a distributorship for a 20% discount from your friend, that is already getting a 20 percent discount, or 40 percent, then he/she is not much of a friend, and did not buy in for the discount. One of you could sign up for the program and both of you could pay for it. Then you could both order from the one distributorship, if you are truly buying in for the discount, because the commissions would not be the motivation. Most of you are truly on hook line and sinker. You can keep telling yourself that the product is great and you only bought in for the discount, but you and I know that is not the truth. Of course, that does not apply to everyone, as I realize some people truly do want the discount. The funny thing is I see so many people walking around trying to sell the products and the story to other people that supposedly just bought in for the discount.
I give Mina credit, because this is a hard story to write. Speaking the truth about a company that hides distributor sales behind words such as discount customer or wholesale customer is deceptive not only to people that are joining to make money, but is also deceiving our government into believing that distributors are selling to discount customers. Everyone that joins Advocare signs a distributor agreement, making them a distributor in fact, not a customer. In my opinion, none of the sales to another distributor should count as a sale to the end user. If the company cannot prove that the majority of the sales are to the end user, then they should be shut down due to being a pyramid scheme just like other MLM companies. You cannot circumvent the law by hiding behind false customers. That is the fact.
Please share your thoughts about the article, and I might actually edit it someday when I get time. Thanks for reading and I hope people start talking because this company has a product people want, but the business model is very deceptive and the 1% of all distributors that are successful has been a trend for many years and most likely will continue.