As regular readers know, I find it interesting and amazing that multi-level marketing companies still exist to scam people in 2014. It’s been more than 25 years after Money Magazine called the scam a mess looking to take in the gullible. Regular readers also know that I learned about MLM from writing about MonaVie, when one of their distributors tried to get my wife to buy a $45 bottle of juice.
I’ve gone on to exposing quite a few of these companies and their fraud. A few years ago, I covered one called ViSalus that was getting press in that community for growing quickly (today the pyramid has imploded and they are a quarter of what they were). ViSalus was a little different than other MLMs I had written about. They got a lot of young people, around ages 23-27 and they seemed to be the top marketers. ViSalus put out a a bunch of misleading information about their pyramid aimed at that young market.
With ViSalus’ implosion, it seemed like many of the brainwashed young distributors didn’t learn and jumped to Vemma’s Young People Revolution. Vemma had taken the attack to get your kids to another level in trying to brainwash them into believe they were part of some kind of “revolution.” In fact, it looks a lot more like the Young People Revolution is conning them into a pyramid scheme. I don’t see how it is any different than the FTC and even the FBI and Department of Justice investigating a similar MLM, HerbaLife, for recruiting people into a pyramid scheme.
I’ve noticed that Vemma seems to have taken things a step further and going to the college campuses. Maybe ViSalus did the same, but it didn’t seem as obvious to me. Nothing like convincing college kids with no income that they should be spending it on a $40 bottle of juice and/or a $75 case of 24 energy drinks.
However, this article isn’t about this ViSalus or Vemma. It’s about how MonaVie has decided to copy them to create their MonaVie Mynt program as a way to market to these young adults.
What is MonaVie Mynt
For a couple of weeks, MonaVie had a great page explaining MonaVie Mynt. They’ve since taken it down, but others on the internet have captured most of the important information. A simple Google search of this phrase shows:
“mynt™ is completely backed by MonaVie. It’s not a new company or a separate entity of MonaVie. It’s simply the brand name of MonaVie’s movement to attract those in the Gen C crowd and to create the next chapter in direct selling. mynt is a community of like-minded individuals who want to have fun!”
MonaVie further defines Gen C as the connected generation, those “who are constantly connected to family, friends, businesses, and interests through the latest technology” and primarily between the ages of 18-34.
So as you can see there’s really nothing of substance to mynt, it is just a bunch of marketing hype to group some people (Gen C) and segregate others (older generations). Here’s some of MonaVie’s brain-dead marketing from their blog:
“mynt is kind of like a Harley Davidson gang… but without bikes… and on Facebook.” — Stephen Jones, MonaVie senior director of marketing, North America
“mynt is like throwing a pebble in the water; one simple act can create a #movemynt.” — Calli Mott, MonaVie director of North America
“mynt is completely innovative. It will change everything. Again.” — Katy Holt-Larsen, VP of North America
“mynt is not ‘the next big wave.’ Waves crash. We’ve created a movemynt!” — Mauricio Bellora, MonaVie president and CEO
These marketing quotes tell you nothing about mynt, often using undefined terms like “movemynt” to try to explain the undefined term “mynt.”
It’s hard to call mynt noteworthy when it keeps everything the same including the compensation structure. While on the topic of that compensation plan (PDF), there is an income disclosure statement from 2011. I guess it would be too much work for MonaVie to make 2013’s numbers available… and I guess the same about the 2012 numbers. I’d see if they’d hire me, but it seems like they filled their quota of lazy… putting me to shame.
I should mention that mynt does have some new products. In particular they have two new kits of products. One kit costs $1050 and earns 600 PV (personal volume). Another kit costs $550, but only earns 250 PV (personal volume). Earning money is largely dependent on the PV of the people you recruit meaning that they are likely to push recruits to buy the $1050 kit to earn the 600 PV. After all, if you can recruit two people to buy that kit (1200 PV points) it is near the same as recruiting FIVE people who buy the $550 kit (1250 PV points). In fact, they even “bold” that buying the more expensive kit “Keeps you Active for 2 months!” This is a good time to remind that the FTC says MLMs with Required Minimum Purchases to Earn Commissions are Pyramid Schemes. Pushing this purchase as a way to stay in the business clearly is a red flag.
My analysis of the compensation plan above is purposely very simplistic, the compensation plan is so complex it would require more than a dozen blog posts to explain it. This complexity is another red flag of an illegal pyramid scheme.
The mynt products that MonaVie introduced themselves are the basic lotions and potions that are known throughout the industry. They have their protein shake, just like HerbaLife, ViSalus, Shakelee, One 24, Reliv, and a dozen other MLM companies. There’s a “Burn” product based on green tea that can be purchased very cheaply (especially as the healthy drink itself) elsewhere. Then there is the “Cleanse” product… scientifically a load of bovine excrement. There’s a “Build” product of amino acids… which you can get in your whey protein replacing the need for the shake product – killing two birds with one stone. Then there’s a “Pro-bio” probiotic product, which claims to help your digestive system… if you have digestive problems that might be something, but living a healthy life means you don’t need to improve blood sugar control and those with lactose digestion problems have a solution called Lactaid that is proven. Finally there’s the energy drink… similar to the what Vemma’s Verve that’s been pushed to their Young People’s Revolution.
At the end of the day, there’s really nothing to see here… certainly nothing close to spending a $1050 on. I would do a more in-depth analysis of the value of the kits, but MonaVie hasn’t given enough information to go on. For instance the expensive kit contains two bags of shake mix. How many pounds are in a bag? They don’t say, right now.
At the end of the day, mynt appears to be a pile of empty marketing, with even more red flags of it being an illegal pyramid scheme than before, and some horribly priced “me too” products that don’t even contain the juice the company was founded on. If this was a fiction novel, no publisher would take it because it simply is too unrealistic.
MonaVie Mynt has one thing going for them. They are focusing on young adults, who presumably haven’t been burned by MLMs/pyramid schemes previously. Most likely their friends haven’t had the experience of getting burned yet either. More and more it looks like MLM companies have churned through too many people and everyone who is not brainwashed knows it is a scam. It seems like they are admitting that their best plan is to brainwash them young before they know any better.
The MonaVie Mynt program is launching tomorrow. My bet is that Generation C will be connected and intelligent enough to say, “MonaVie, go stuff yourselves! We are smarter than to fall for your artificial hype and marketing gimmicks.” Let’s pray I’m correct.