AdvoCare Scam? Yes It Is In My Opinion!
Update 2017: AdvoCare has been sued for being a pyramid scheme.
AdvoCare has a long history of working with professional athletes to promote their products and business opportunity. Also, they are famous for their sales and recruitment technique called the “Bulletproof Shield.” ESPN has released a recent report on them that calls into question the legitimacy of the opportunity that AdvoCare offers. My subscribers have requested that I take a look into the AdvoCare business opportunity. Here is what I have found.
AdvoCare Scam Claims
People from all walks of life are having success with AdvoCare, enjoying time and financial freedom, and making a difference along the way.
We Build Champions.
Here is how the business opportunity is presented:
AdvoCare Scam Reality
AdvoCare International is a nutrition, weight-loss and skin-care company founded by Charles Ragus. Ragus, joined Herbalife in 1983, became one of the company’s top distributors. In 1989, he founded a company called Omnitrition. Webster v Omnitrition became a landmark case in the legalities of running a MLM. In 1992 distributors of Omnitrition, who had lost money, brought suit against the company and its principals, alleging the exist-ence of an illegal pyramid scheme. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount. Ragus in 1993 created AdvoCare International. The company slogan is, “We Build Champions.”
AdvoCare representatives use a sales and recruitment technique called the “Bulletproof Shield.” With the “Bulletproof Shield” a representative uses endorsements and the AdvoCare scientific and medical advisory board to deflect questions about the product and business opportunity. The way a representative does this is when they get tough questions about the company they reply, “Well, I don’t know about (X), but what I do know is” — and then they reference specific athletes or doctors who have vouched for AdvoCare. “You sell the products and the opportunity with the heart and the eyes, not extensive knowledge.” – Source advoarmy.com
In my opinion, the “Bulletproof Shield” is far from bulletproof.
Nutrition experts contend that all we need is what’s typically found in a routine diet. On October 10, 2011, researchers from the University of Minnesota found that women who took supplemental multivitamins died at rates higher than those who didn’t. Two days later, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found that men who took vitamin E had an increased risk of prostate cancer. “It’s been a tough week for vitamins,” said Carrie Gann of ABC News. These findings weren’t new. Seven previous studies had already shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease and shortened lives. – Source theatlantic.com
Here is one of the dangers of taking supplements as a professional athlete:
Olympic swimmer, Jessica Hardy, was notified on July 23, 2008 that her blood tested positive for clenbuterol. Hardy used a powdered supplement called Arginine Extreme made by one of her sponsors, Advocare. Hardy claimed innocence and said she has never even heard of clenbuterol, attributing her positive drug result to either a tainted nutritional supplement or sabotage. Hardy sued AdvoCare for supplying tainted supplements; AdvoCare countersued for making false claims. AdvoCare disputed the findings of the arbitration hearing, which found that the supplements were contaminated, and reduced Hardy’s suspension. – Source the.honoluluadvertiser.com
Professional and celebrity endorsements are used quite heavily by AdvoCare as a way to gain trust. I have heard many times that these sponsors are not paid and support Advocare because of the great products they make.
“Drew is our unpaid, National Spokeman and has been using AdvoCare products for many years. To be a product endorser an athlete is not allowed to supplement any other product and must be a tested product user for two years. At this type of level, voluntary endorsement equals extraordinary products.” – Source AdvoCare Representatives
Drew Brees is a paid endorser, providing personal services and social media promotion for AdvoCare. – Source drewbrees.com
AdvoCare contributes to the Brees Dream Foundation. Drew Brees is also compensated for his role as AdvoCare National Spokesperson. Drew Brees receives a percentage of the sales from DB9® Signature Series products. – Source advocare.com
Network marketing representatives often claim that they have created more millionaires than any single industry in the USA. This is not true. More educators have millionaire households than business owners.
Millionaire Household Occupations
Percent of Millionaires
Sr. Corporate Executive
– Source: Spectrem Group Millionaire Corner
MLM sales literature often claims that 20% of American millionaires made their millions in multilevel marketing. After months of interviews, Money could find no one able to document the 20% figure. – Source money.cnn.com
AdvoCare is not a franchise opportunity, but representatives like to compare the AdvoCare business opportunity to franchises.
Here is how a former Platinum level distributor explains how to make money with AdvoCare:
As a former Platinum level distributor with Advocare it does require both selling the product and recruiting people. I always told people that if you want to earn around $500/mo you could do so by hustling products, joining a Business Networking Group, doing booths in various settings etc…but to earn more than that and to get into the more significant income bracket, you absolutely have to be a very gifted and/or skilled recruiter. The money grows as you recruit new advisors and then you must pour as much time and energy into helping those advisors sell products and recruit people until they have a solid foundation of business builders under them. That typically looks like a pyramid as the goal is for one person to find 3 strong “legs” of business builders/advisors horizontally below them. Then each of those three needs to recruit 3 “legs” of business builders under them and so-on and so-on. As a sponsor you tend to stay actively involved in that group until the leader becomes skilled enough to continue helping their advisors on their own. If you want to make more money, you continue this pyramid building process underneath you in a horizontal fashion. The money rolling up to the main sponsor comes in as one entire pyramid leg below them generates at least $3000 per two week pay period-that’s the main goal of a sponsor, help grow a “leg” of business in this pyramid type fashion to the point where there is at least $3000 worth of products moving through that organization. When that happens, the original, first sponsor, receives a monetary bonus. As you solidify this same goal in another pyramid beneath you, another bonus gets tacked on. This is the process- that in order to earn any real money -must take place.
How great of an opportunity is AdvoCare for making money? Of the 517,666 salespeople in 2014, less than 70% of the distributors received a commission check from AdvoCare and 96% of those that did get a check made $5000 or less per year. This does not include expenses.
Why and how do people get involved with schemes like this? Because the promise of health, wealth and good fortune, coupled with a well crafted sales pitch, is difficult for the best of us to turn away from. After all, they make it sound so easy!
Why are there few complaints about this business opportunity? When people join these companies, they’re often recruited by family or friends, and they go on to enlist others who are close to them. As a result, if they complain about the business, they’re admitting that they exploited their family and friends.
Former AdvoCare members say loyalty keeps distributors silent — but so does shame, because people who struggle are told, over and over, that they simply aren’t trying hard enough.
Here is one persons account of the personal cost of this business opportunity:
You know what gets me? You distributors that are here defending AdvoCare, you’ve never been on the other side of your family. You’ve never been told that just because you don’t support your family member they have to turn their backs on you because that’s what Danny McDaniel tells them to do. Here’s his direct quote from his Twitter account “Want to know what real confidence is? If someone doubts your dreams, separate your life from them & keep moving” What kind of pastor says that? Do you know how many families have been disrupted because of the cult like atmosphere of AdvoCare? Husbands and Wives who are afraid of losing the roof over their heads because their spouse is “ALL IN” with AdvoCare. I lost part of my family and I have friends that have been in this position. Think about what you are supporting. Stop the deception and see the light! Oh, and while we’re at it why don’t we talk about how you all love to place orders under each other to hit that 3K club every 2 weeks? – Source Shelly Morgan
People from all walks of life are making little or no money with AdvoCare, enjoying time taking supplements that are not necessary for the vast majority of people, and making a difference by getting others to make the same choices.
$79 plus taxes and shipping to become a distributor.
$50 Annual Renewal Fee.
“The best way to become an advisor is to simply place a $3000 retail order and you immediately reach the advisor level and the 40% discount level. As long as you pay your yearly membership fee of $50, you will always be at the 40% level. The $3000 retail order will cost you approximately $2100 depending on sales tax and whether you will be paying shipping costs because you will get the products at a discount but get credit for the retail amount.” – Source nutritionalhope.com
Products may only be sold person-to-person or through the Distributor’s personal AdvoCare Microsite.
Distributor Revenue Sources:
- Retail Profits
- Wholesale Earnings
As a new Distributor, you qualify for 20 percent off retail. This can increase to 40 percent depending on your volume.
The Wholesale Commission, which AdvoCare pays directly to you, is the difference between your discount and the discount of the Distributor(s) you sponsor. If you are at the same level you do not make a wholesale commission.
Advisor Revenue Sources:
- Retail Profits
- Wholesale Earnings
- Leadership Bonuses
You must show that you made at least five (5) retail sales to at least five (5) different customers (other than yourself) in each pay period during which any Override, Leadership Bonus or other bonus incentive is earned.
Advisor qualification requires $3000 in PV and GV, with at least $500 of that being PV generated in one to three consecutive pay periods. You can buy your way to being an Advisor or you can work your way to being an Advisor.
When you are working your way to be an Advisor, you must have at least $500 of Personal Volume in each qualifying period. Most qualifying periods are 2 weeks, but a few are 3 weeks.
You can build your organization infinitely wide and three advisors deep by recruiting people into AdvoCare.
“The great benefit of building both wide and deep is that you’re showing people how to lead by example; among other things, YOU must continue to personally sponsor at least one or two new Advisors at least each month or two.” – Source ADVOCARE SUCCESS CURRICULUM Module 102
Recruitment is required to receive the top AdvoCare leadership bonuses.
Personal Volume (PV) is defined as the total suggested retail value of product purchases made by you, your retail customers and your downline Distributors. This excludes the volume of downline Distributors who are former Advisors (Distributors at the 40% discount level) and those who are using their volume to qualify for Advisor status.
Group Volume (GV) is defined as the total suggested retail value of product purchases made by your downline Distributors who are in a qualifying period to achieve Advisor status ($500 in product purchases or more). This excludes any volume of former Advisors (Distributors at the 40% discount level).
In my opinion, there is a limited amount of money to be made through retail sales with AdvoCare. The majority of money to be made is through recruiting representatives who personally purchase the products and the Incentives, Overrides, and Leadership Bonuses that come from that.
Less than 70% of distributors receive a commission check from AdvoCare.
96% of those that do get a check make less than $5000 per year. This does not include expenses.
An active Distributor is anyone that earned a check in 2014 (154,819 total Distributors). The overall number of Distributors on December 31, 2014 was 517,666.
– Source AdvoCare Income Disclosure
AdvoCare is a great way to make less than part time minimum wage.
A Retail Customer is entitled to a refund on any Product purchased in the last 30 days. Distributors must refund a Retail Customer’s money immediately if asked to do so. Failure to do so may result in the suspension or termination of a Distributorship at the sole discretion of
AdvoCare. After issuing a refund to a Retail Customer, Distributors must return the unused portion of the product along with a copy of the Retail Sales Receipt and a completed Retail Customer Product Return form in order to receive a replacement for the product from AdvoCare.
AdvoCare will permit a Distributor to return or exchange product up to an amount of $500.00 in retail value within a calendar year. The products must be unopened. Any Distributor wishing to return Product worth more than $500 in retail value within one calendar year must resign his or her Distributorship.
Distributors who choose to resign may be entitled to receive a refund for the cost of his or her Distributor Kit, plus shipping and handling, sales tax (if applicable) as well as a refund or credit for any unopened products purchased from AdvoCare.
To be entitled to a refund, the following requirements must be met:
- Products must be unopened and returned to AdvoCare at the time the Resignation Form is submitted;
- Returned Products must be accompanied by an inventory list and proof of purchase.
- Returned Products must also appear in the order history of the Distributor to be eligible for a refund; and
- Returned Products must have been purchased within the 12 months preceding the date of resignation.
A distributor must be able to certify that he or she has sold or consumed at least 70 percent of all products previously purchased prior to placing a new order.
– Source AdvoCare Policies And Procedures
Distributors are required to consume or sell at least 70% of the products that they purchase each month. There will not be much left to return if a distributor is unsuccessful.
AdvoCare Scam Conclusion
In my opinion, AdvoCare is another recruiting scam. They charge you an upfront free and then try to get you to make a large $2100 product purchase. You have to recruit people to receive the top bonuses they offer. Less than 70% of distributors receive a commission check from AdvoCare. 96% of those that do get a check make less than $5000 per year. This does not include expenses. People from all walks of life are making little or no money with AdvoCare, enjoying time taking supplements that are not necessary for the vast majority of people, and making a difference by getting others to make the same choices. I would avoid the AdvoCare business opportunity.
Additional opinions of AdvoCare:
Is AdvoCare a Scam? – Lazy Man And Money