[Below is a guest post from a commenter who has identified himself as Mackwiz elsewhere on this site…]
Recently, I was approached by a co-worker to look into a â€œbusiness opportunityâ€. I was only told that the company was in the business of selling products using the acai berry and not given any company name. I figured it could be something interesting and showed up to the presentation.
I walked in and the people seemed friendly for sure. It seemed like people engaging in an emerging business so I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. I took a seat near the front as I was getting the pitch for the first time.
They had empty bottles on display and I thought (oh, they must be selling some really good anti-oxidant acai wine), but then I learned that it is actually just acai and supposedly 18 other fruits in a blended juice. The wine bottles seem to provide the effect of â€˜juice in fancy bottle = really good’. I never got the actual price of the product while there, that was a surprise for later. Now that I think about it, one of the main images MonaVie is promoting is â€˜very fancy looking’, which I am sure leads people into believing â€˜must be good then’.
Now, the claims about the IDS being displayed prominently at the MonaVie presentation is true, well, at least it is true for my experience. The IDS was displayed for all to see and was up the entire time. I think this is because they spend some time trying to rationalize the IDS as a winning market model.
Ok, before I begin writing about the presentation and the speaker, I will give a little info about myself. I am by all accounts a rationalist and a healthy skeptic. I am all about using logic and reason to solve problems and generally prefer that over emotion, which is helpful in some instances but many times leads to bad logical fallacies. What I am saying is that I am the kind of person that MonaVie probably disdains, as lofty dreams for financial freedom and â€œpumping up the crowdâ€ techniques are not going to work on me.
So the presenter comes up and starts his charismatic routine. Basically, he is talking about getting everyone “fired up”, while most people in the audience take the bait and “get fired up”. He then talks about how he had a crappy regular job and always wanted a better job, and how this MonAvie business model and product is the business opportunity of lifetime and only a fool wouldn’t get involved. He then starts using Kiyosaki quotes and the EBSI quadrant.
The basic sales pitch is “You are currently working for a conventional company that pays you peanuts and treats you like a bitch. Wouldn’t you like to make money on your own and not be subject to traditional company rules such as when to come into work, when you can have off, etc?” It sounds really good, and it makes you feel like you are in on some super-secret new business model that makes traditional business antiquated and oppressive.
Note that the entire time the speaker is being very humorous and is very motivated, which is psyching up the crowd. Personally, I got the feeling of being in a religious fanatic environment, with people who were too pumped up into the mental fantasy dream to take an honest look at what they were doing.
I’d say 80% of the presentation is MLM hype, which should tell you what is more important to the MonaVie execs when it comes to MLM or the juice. They used commonsense figures such as a chart that shows that once you hit 30 or so years old, your income level remains static, and they were suggesting that the MonaVie business model is a way to keep your income growing and growing throughout your life, which seems to me like a pipe-dream at best.
Of course, I am thinking “This is a F’ing pyramid scheme, I learned about this kind of crap when I was 15!” What they try to do during the presentation is present the IDS and the business model in such a way as “Oh, it is a pyramid but anyone can get to the top given hard work and persistence, unlike those other crappy pyramids!” The line used was, yeah we only have 7 people at the very top of the pyramid, but that is because they are hard workers who are at the top of their game, just like Tiger Woods and LeBron James at their respective games, and we can’t expect everyone to be at that level.
So that is how they explain away the IDS, basically by saying that the 99% in the bottom tiers are simply not trying hard enough, and if you get “fired up” and religiously get into the expensive motivational books they sell you will get to the higher levels. Looking at the IDS objectively, I could not figure out how anyone could look at that and not get highly discouraged and suspicious. I was thinking the entire time, “I bet when I Google this company later on I will get a few websites saying it is a scam”.
I noticed that, quite amusingly, the “TEAM” logo consists of two pyramids â€“ was this intentional or accidental? The two pyramids are, as described in this Forbes article, the MLM distributor pyramid and the motivational tools pyramid.
Here comes the health pitch!
He spends a short amount of time going over how we are all unhealthy today and how this juice is the path to the cure. They then have an ORAC chart trying to dismiss all other acai competitors (by claiming only they use freeze-dried acai, and the spray juice acai ORAC sucks). I was yet to learn of all the problems with the claim they were making until I came to this site. He told everyone to stand up if they juice gave them noticeable benefits, and everyone stood up except for me (I had not had any…). The way the crowd was acting came across as if they were acting as fervent believers rather than sellers of a product. Why the hell would you need to â€œtestifyâ€ like you are in a religion?
I was thinking if this juice is so great, why are they MLM selling it? Why have I never seen it in any stores, even when I was told that it was possible for a distributor to sell to retailers? Surely stores would be ready and willing to buy from a “fired up” distributor if this is really the unmatched health juice of the century.
The presentation ends with a lady showcasing a photo book of her going all over the world on MonaVie profits, basically the “proof” of what MonaVie can do for you if you get involved. She even jokes about how those lake night infomercials promise the same thing but “don’t worry â€“ this is the real deal right here!”
I told my friend I would think on it, I didn’t want to be honest because I don’t want him to turn on me or tell me I am a “negative thinker”.
When I got home I did about a 10 second search and right at the beginning of the Wikipedia article on MonaVie there are numerous sources on how it is pretty much just another MLM scam. Then I found this site, and being the lover of rational arguments that I am, poured over the content and the comments. The trend is obvious, provide evidence and the MonaVie supporters come out almost like religious fanatics, saying things like “you’re just stupid and you have no life, MonaVie is the way” rather than providing actual evidence of their own. As a matter of fact, anywhere you look you can find the same trend, check out the comments on the Forbes article to see what I mean.
I gracefully bowed out later, saying that I would keep it in mind but it didn’t look like an option I wanted to take. He seemed disappointed, and I really wanted to tell him my real feelings, but I was afraid because I saw the way they psyche people and train them to disdain “negative thinking” i.e. skeptics, which I seriously believe MonaVie wants you to think are “infidels” â€“ just look at the comments on this site.
All in all it was a very strange experience, and I am truly saddened that there are people out there willing to buy into delusion and cheap emotional tricks to get involved in schemes like this. I mean, the fact that the MonaVie CEO had a previous MLM company he was a top level executive on shut down for making phony miracle claims should be as red and loud an alarm as any.
Originally posted 2010-09-11 05:55:08. Republished by Blog Post PromoterThe above article is intended to be accurate at the time of its original posting. MonaVie may change its pricing, product, or other policies at any time without notice.
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