Vemma

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Vemma Nutrition Company
TypePrivate
IndustryDietary supplements
Predecessors
  • New Vision International
FoundedTempe, Arizona (2004 (2004))
FoundersBenson K. Boreyko
HeadquartersTempe, Arizona, United States
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleBenson K. Boreyko (CEO)
Karen Boreyko (co-founder)
Lauren Boreyko (co-founder)
Brad Wayment (COO)
Yibing Wang (Chief Scientific Officer)
Adrian Berry (Chief Medical Officer)
ProductsVemma, Verve, Bod·ē, NEXT
Websitevemma.com
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Vemma Nutrition Company
TypePrivate
IndustryDietary supplements
Predecessors
  • New Vision International
FoundedTempe, Arizona (2004 (2004))
FoundersBenson K. Boreyko
HeadquartersTempe, Arizona, United States
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleBenson K. Boreyko (CEO)
Karen Boreyko (co-founder)
Lauren Boreyko (co-founder)
Brad Wayment (COO)
Yibing Wang (Chief Scientific Officer)
Adrian Berry (Chief Medical Officer)
ProductsVemma, Verve, Bod·ē, NEXT
Websitevemma.com

Coordinates: 33°38′38″N 111°53′57″W / 33.643787°N 111.899148°W / 33.643787; -111.899148

Vemma (/ˈvmə/) Nutrition Company is a privately held multi-level marketing[1][2] company that sells energy drinks, nutritional beverages and weight management products.[3] The company, based in Tempe, Arizona, was founded in 2004 by Benson K., Lauren, and Karen Boreyko.[4][5] In 2013, the company reported US$ 221 million dollars in revenue.[6] Most distributors are in their twenties. The company has been accused of being a pyramid scheme by U.S. media, business analysts, and former distributors, as well as being fined by the Italian government.

Products[edit]

Vemma has four product lines, all based on their core Vemma nutritional formulation: Vemma, Verve, Bod-e and Next.[7] The name "Vemma" is an acronym representing: vitamins, essential minerals, mangosteen, aloe.[8] Several of the company's products contain caffeine, with some drinks in the Verve line being similar in caffeine content to energy drinks.[9][10] The "Verve" line is one of the official drinks (along with Gatorade) of the Phoenix Suns, which also acts as a distributor.[11]

Business model[edit]

Starting in the 1990s, the Boreyko family have been incorporating dozens of companies under the family's control sharing the same address. In 1994, the family founded New Vision International, a nutritional supplement company. The family also owns a limited liability corporation which has purchased commercial real estate, including property rented back to other Boreyko-controlled companies. Vemma Nutrition Company was incorporated in 2004, and by 2011, New Vision had been entirely folded into Vemma.[12]

Vemma sells its products through its website, and also through independent distributors (referred to internally as affiliates)[13] who can potentially earn a share of the revenue from their own product sales as well as those from the network of distributors they build.[14]

Vemma has been described as a multi-level marketing (MLM) company[1] or a network marketing company.[15] In 2013, Vemma started describing itself as an affiliate marketing company,[16] although Benson K. Boreyko has said that the compensation plan is the same.[17][18] Vemma is a member of the U.S. Direct Selling Association.[19]

In April, 2014, the company announced that it was modifying its compensation plan by removing sign-up fees and the $150 minimum monthly product purchase to qualify for commission, among other things. Boreyko stated that the changes were intended to avoid the fallout from the Federal Trade Commission that has happened to other multi-level marketing companies, such as Herbalife.[20] An analysis by advertising watchdog group Truth in Advertising has described this as a red herring, as the company has never required sign-up fees. The group's report also says that minimum monthly purchases are still required for full eligibility, which Boreyko has said is false.[21][17]

Use of college-aged distributors[edit]

Vemma has heavily focused on recruiting college-aged people as distributors,[22][23] which has brought attention from consumer organizations.[1][2] The FTC has received 170 complaints about Vemma,[note 1] and some colleges have issued warnings to their students about the company.[6]

William Keep, the dean of business at The College of New Jersey and an expert in pyramid schemes has said that the company shows indicators of being a pyramid scheme.[6][24] Keep became aware of Vemma when he found out that a student had been stockpiling unsold energy drinks in his dorm room.[25] Keep and other analysts, as well as former distributors have claimed the company relies on recruiting as its main means of generating revenue.[6][24]

False advertising complaints[edit]

New Vision International[edit]

Vemma was preceded by New Vision International, a Tempe, Arizona-based dietary supplement company founded by Benson Boreyko and his family in 1994. In 1999, New Vision International was ordered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop making claims that one of its products ("God's Recipe") was a cure or treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD).[26] New Vision was accused in the FTC complaint of "unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and the making of false advertisements" about the health benefits of some of their products. In the Decision & Order,[27] the FTC ordered New Vision to stop making various claims; specifically they were ordered (1) to stop saying that one of their product recipes was effective in treating ADD or ADHD, or useful as an alternative to Ritalin; (2) that they not indicate or imply that any testimonial or endorsement of any of their products is typical or ordinary; and (3), that they make no claims about safety or effectiveness in reducing the risk of developing any disease or disorder; and that they communicate all this to their team members in mailings.[28] According to the FTC, that was the first time they had investigated a case involving ADD/ADHD. New Vision settled with the FTC, but did not admit to any wrongdoing.[29]

Italian pyramid scheme accusations[edit]

In March 2014, the Italian consumer protection agency, Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), fined Vemma Italia (Vemma's Italian branch) €100,000. The AGCM found that Vemma was acting as a pyramid scheme by encouraging recruitment as the primary means of profit, rather than product sales.[30] Vemma issued a statement that it does not believe it was in violation of the law, and that the company has made a number of changes in response to the government's concerns.[31] An analysis by Truth in Advertising determined that Vemma's new compensation plan is not significantly different from the one that the Italian regulators found to be a pyramid scheme.[17]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The FTC generally doesn't disclose if it is investigating an organization unless that organization confirms it.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Celarier, Michelle (29 September 2013). "Verve energy drink turning college students into sales force". New York Post. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Nine Things You Should Know About Vemma". Truth in Advertising.org. 4 October 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Vemma, Building A Solid Nutritional Foundation IS Vital To Your Overall Health". Vemma. Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  4. ^ Babener, Jeffrey. "New Vision USA, Inc.". MLM Legal. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  5. ^ "Executive Bios". Vemma. May 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d Rossen, Jeff; Billington, Jovanna (31 July 2014). "Controversial energy drink company targets students as sellers". Today News. NBC News. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Products". Vemma. July 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  8. ^ "Verve Energy Drink". Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Caffeine in Verve Energy Drink". Caffeine Informer. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Vemma Verve Nutritional Facts". Brian Willet. May 25, 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  11. ^ Lombardo, John (11 February 2008). "Phoenix Suns deal with Verve puts team in distributor role". Phoenix Business Journal. Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Rena Murray, Laura (14 October 2014). "Behind Boreyko's Millions". al Jazeera. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "Verve Energy Drink". Verve. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Vemma Compensation Plan". Vemma. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Stanford, Duane D. (8 January 2013). "Herbalife Distributor Decamps for Energy Drink Company Vemma". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Vemma Makes the Move To Affiliate Marketing". Pitch Engine (press release). January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  17. ^ a b c truthinadvertising.org (24 April 2014). "Vemma Deemed Pyramid Scheme in Italy". 
  18. ^ Nuyten, Ted (13 November 2013). "Vemma 2.0 Announced – Brand Partners Will Be Affiliates". Business for Home.org. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Direct Selling Association - Vemma Nutrition Company". dsa.org. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  20. ^ Celarier, Michelle (3 April 2014). "Verve energy drink company tries to stay off regulators’ radar". New York Post. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  21. ^ Celarier, Michelle (26 April 2014). "Verve ruling hits a nerve". New York Post. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  22. ^ Hunt, Amber (13 July 2014). "True believers bank on Vemma's promises". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  23. ^ Havranek, Andrew (14 July 2014). "Vemma Company Targeting College Students". WDTV.com. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  24. ^ a b "PYRAMID SCHEME EXPERT ISSUES WARNING ABOUT VEMMA". [[Truth in Advertising (organization)|]]. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  25. ^ Murray, Laura Rena; Abrahamian, Atossa (14 October 2014). "Vemma's Army of Young Recruits". al Jazeera. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  26. ^ "DOCKET NO. C-3856 DECISION AND ORDER". United States Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  27. ^ United States of America, Federal Trade Commission, Robert Pitofsky, Chairman (March 1999). "New Vision International Inc. - Decision and Order No. C-3856". Ftc.gov. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  28. ^ US Federal Trade Commission, Donald S. Clark, Secretary (March 1999). "New Vision International Inc. - Complaint No. C-3856". Ftc.gov. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  29. ^ Whitlock, Chuck (13 January 2003). Mediscams. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 146–147. ISBN 9780312306021. 
  30. ^ "Vendite piramidali, Antitrust multa 3 società per 500mila euro". La Stampa (in Italian). 10 March 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  31. ^ Nuytem, Ted (12 March 2014). "Vemma Responses To Italian Anti-Trust Ruling". Business For Home. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 

External links[edit]