Amway… doesn’t rock
The Herald has run an article in it’s business section about Amway’s supposed revival … apparently they are going to attract a “whole new generation” using none other than Tina Turner. Tina Turner was born in 1939 which… makes… her… 70.
Now, maybe I’ve missed something but I can see a small flaw in Amway’s strategy. If you wanted to widen your appeal past people who think there’s a quick way of being a millionaire and appeal to younger people, which is what I assume they mean by a “new generation” – unless they mean a new generation of 60+ year olds – then an aging 70 year old performer isn’t probably going to be too hip with 20 year olds, and that’s assuming they even know who Tina Turner is!
I noticed the Herald managed to get a bit of a dig in about Amway being accused of being a pyramid scheme in the past. In the past? I’d argue that it still is. As a business it’s really quite absurd, over the last 50 years businesses across the globe have cut out middlemen clipping the ticket and adding cost, but Amway clings, indeed it’s whole survival, is based on a massive pyramid scheme where you only start making real money by ensuring there’s a stack (pyramid) of people under you busy signing up more people under them and you, and everyone else above you, gets a cut, and in doing so it’s takes very cheap products and makes them very expensive.
The best way to illustrate just how ridiculous Amway is, is like this… You walk into The Warehouse and buy a bottle of washing up liquid for $5. There are at most four people involved in this transaction; yourself, The Warehouse, the Importer and the Manufacturer. There are three lots of margin in there plus the shipping company who also made some money along the way.
If you look at Amway, it’s like walking into The Warehouse, buying a bottle of washing up liquid (identical product, different label) for $15. The difference this time is that there could be 10 or even more people (depending how far down the food chain you are) who are making a cut. The only reason you’d participate in such a scheme is because you too were going to make a cut as well.
If you got a child to illustrate how it works, they would draw something like a pyramid. Amway believers are a bit smarter than that and they will draw something which looks a bit like a horizontal pyramid.
The other interesting comment in the article was the Christian connection. Having been to a few Amway meetings over the years, I was left with the feeling that the people who dreamt up Amway must have taken inspiration from organised religion. The group meetings where every pumps up each other belief in… erm, making money, and the way couples and groups aere organised to spread the word. The only difference between Mormons, other evangelical Christian religion’s and Amway is that Amway is trying to sell you a product and turn a buck, the others are trying to sell you God.
I’ve met, and know some really genuinely nice people who ‘believe in’ Amway – because you have to believe in it because from a business perspective you have to suspend logic to really get into it, just as you have to suspend scientific logic to believe in Christianity. But there’s something slightly disturbing about a bunch of people that fervently (and very politely) want to convert you to their cause, just so they can make a buck off you when you build a pyramid of people underneath you and start passing on the cut from sales.
Amway doesn’t need Tina Turner, because there will always be an endless pool of naive, desperate, and also possibly greedy people out there who will be prepared to overlook the silliness of the whole thing because they might make some money out of it. It’s just like another pyramid scheme, the latest example being Madoff’s rip off which suckered in a bunch of rich people who should have known better, but were just greedy.