As regular readers of the Local Area Watch know, we are no fans of Amway. As reported here, here, and here, we have a healthy disdain for the multi-level marketing company that has been suckering ordinary people to buy its soap-and-vitamins sales kits with the pitch that reselling the stuff to family and friends is the path to riches, when in fact they were nothing but marks to enrich Amway and its kingpin distributors. For a long time now Amway (including its most recent incarnation as Quixtar) has had a dirty bargain with its kingpins: Amway turns a buck selling sales kits to the new marks recruited by the kingpins while turning a blind eye to the kingpins pressuring the marks to buy pricey but useless training and motivational crap. A match made in hell.
Well, it's not illegal, at least not here in the U.S. of A. That's O.K. The law shouldn't stop people from being suckers. But it is a business that stinks, and apparently the top brass at Amway can no longer deny the stench. And so Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel and President Doug DeVos announced that they want to redirect their kingpins to selling Amway products rather than the Amway "opportunity". To that end, they are junking the Quixtar brand name over the next two years with the hope that the odor which has clung to their company will disappear along with it. Once that is done, the plan is to have Amway brand name arise like phoenix to restore confidence in their multi-level marketing operations.
Perhaps. The reason for re-branding Amway as Quixtar seven years ago was to disassociate the company's North American multi-marketing operations from the taint the Amway name had acquired over the years. However, under the Quixtar name the merry tradition of kingpins fleecing new recruits continued, and so Quixtar became as soiled as Amway. Meanwhile, there have been government crack-downs on these dubious practices in some of the company's overseas markets causing considerable financial trouble and embarrassment. Consequently Van Andel and DeVos say they want to finally eliminate the negative perceptions associated with their company.
No doubt they do. What businessman wants his company to be the object of scorn? But will Van Andel and DeVos actually undertake the difficult task of cleaning out the Augean stables of the kingpins who have helped to make Amway and then Quixtar reviled names? Or is their re-branding strategy just more flim-flam, a Quixtar redux, that polishes the turd instead of flushing it? Stay tuned.