Monday, July 08, 2013

Vemma - The Multilevel Marketing Scheme Preying on Your Teens

Talk about chutzpah!

I'm guessing most readers of this blog are already familiar with multi-level marketing schemes involving glorified magic juices - but Vemma's the first such scheme I've come across that's reportedly targeting teens to become pushers, I mean, "brand agents".

An alert put out by the Toronto District School Board to all of its Superintendants notes,
"a company called Vemma is approaching students through Facebook to become “brand agents” (sales representatives) to sell their drink Verve! The drink is not sold in stores. They target middle and high schools students (ages 14 to 16 and over). They have a strong marketing plan, there is a cost for the start-up kit, and messaging on their website tells students that becoming a Verve Brand rep will help them develop leadership and business skills, as well as make them a lot of money. There is also an incentive program that offers cars and more. The students are strongly encouraged to recruit others as “brand agents”."
And so what's Verve? It's Vemma's version of Red Bull replete with this grab bag of "medicinal" ingredients,

But I guess if you're already a company that is comfortable selling theoretical hope as magic, preying on children to peddle your wares isn't much of an ethical stretch.

[Hat tip to my wonderful Canadian editor Random House's Pamela Murray]