Company Name: AdvoCare
Costs: $79 + cost of products you purchase
What Is It
An MLM company with health and wellness products. The flagship products are Spark energy drink and the 24 Day Challenge (weight loss program)
Their products get mixed reviews, but a good amount positive reviews from non-affiliated reviewers. I do not recommend their 30 day challenge, but the Spark energy drink mix is a pretty good idea.
There is nothing special about the biz op portion. It’s slightly less confusing than the typical MLM company, but still involves a lot of costs and hoops you must jump through to earn commissions.
Advocare’s product line is all stuff related to health and wellness. There are supplements, vitamins, meal replacements, and skin creams. According to the sections on their website, here’s how they organize the lineup:
- Trim: appetite control, supplements for energy + metabolism
- Active: spark + meal bars
- Well: Vitamins, fish oil, herbal cleanse, fiber drink, probiotics, etc
- Performance Elite: Muscle building + recovery
- Skin Care: wrinkle reduction, moisturizer, eye cream, cleanser
AdvoCare tries really hard to distinguish their lineup from regular old vitamin supplements, but at the end of the day that’s what they are. Vitamin b12 suddenly becomes exciting when you called “spark” and fish oil has been rebranded as OmegaPlex. I guess I can’t blame them for building their brand though.
One of their products which seems to be talked about a lot is the spark energy drink. Unlike Vemma Verve or Wake Up Now's Thunder, it’s a powder that you mix instead of it being in a can. There are a lot of fantastic claims found around the web, but there are just as many criticisms out there.
One blogger comments that the b12 used in the mix is a low quality, synthetic version that many people can’t convert properly. She also says that it contains 750% our recommended daily dose the vitamin. If you do click that link, be sure to read her comments about beaver butts and natural flavoring! LOL *Also check butthurt comments trying to character assassinate her for criticizing their beloved drink.
24 Day Challenge
The other product which is much less well received is the 24 day challenge. If you check reviews of AdvoCare products on Amazon, you can see a typical situation with MLM products. Distributors giving 5 stars to defend their product, while most “real” consumers give it a 1-3 stars either for not functioning properly, or complaining about the marketing tactics (often hyped).
Of course those are generalizations and I didn’t read ALL the comments, but you can see from the star distribution chart that there is a CLEAR divide between lovers and haters of the product. I have seen this many times recently such as with the recent review I did of Nerium.
The idea is that you lose weight in 24 days if you follow the diet plan and use their products. Not drinking alcohol, not eating refined carbohydrates, and getting 30 minute of exercise per day seems to be a large part of 24 day challenge. I’m sure you could lose 10 lbs in a month doing just that without purchasing their products. Most people can lose 5 pounds in a week just from water weight (ex-fat-person here!).
There’s some hype around Drew Brees promoting AdvoCare stuff, but there’s nothing unusual about that. They are athletes and they promote what they are paid to promote. Athletes do not approach companies and say, “Hey, I love your stuff can I do an endorsement”. The companies contact the athletes agent, negotiate a contract, and they say what’s in the script.
Also, watch out for distributors pushing this stuff and making health claims. A lot of the independent distributors do not fully understand the product they are promoting and focused on making money above all else (common in this industry).
My Comments About Spark
Surprisingly, there don’t seem to be a lot of alternatives to Spark out there! I looked for caffeinated, flavored drink powders and didn’t find much. + Points here. I also noticed that most complaints about Spark seem to be flavor related, not result related.
There ARE a lot of shill reviews out there though, including this guy.
It seem like he’s just an enthusiast, until you look up his name and find out he’s an active distributor and wrote that review without disclosing this information. And even though Spark “changed his life”, he hasn't tweeted about it since 2011.
I’ll also add that although there weren’t much in the way of comparative products, there are a TON of alternatives once you start searching for Pre-Workout mixes. I go to the gym a lot and use these.
They are in fact, caffeinated, sweet, and in powder form. They are not necessarily for “health benefits” as much as the energy boost, but they do contain vitamins and other stuff for energy. Watch out for the ones with Beta Alanine though! They will give you a weird skin tingling sensation (meant for body builders looking for muscle gains).
AdvoCare has been around for 10 years, so at least they are not one of these fly-by-night MLMs that pop up and disappear 2 years later. Their comp plan was relatively simple to understand. Even though it was a 26 page document (WOW!), about 10 pages were various rules related to distribution and 16 pages were for payment details.
I still think it’s sill that it takes that long to explain, and as you’ll see in the video below, it’s absolutely ridiculous that it takes 12 minutes to explain just ONE portion
Emphasis on Products
My main complaint about most MLMs is that they focus on recruiting which makes them a borderline pyramid scheme. This isn’t really the case with AdvoCare, and as I mentioned above, there’s a full 10 pages written about rules related to marketing their products.
However, there still is a lot of mind-screwing going on in the sales pitches, and distributors exhibit typical MLM junkie habits. They get extremely defensive when you question their business or products, often using very childish or aggressive tactics. Things like
- Don’t be a hater
- You’re just jealous of my success
- Fine! You can be unhealthy!
- But I make six figures!
- Don’t insult something you don’t understand
- You’re a loser because you have a job. I’m my own boss
Browse any other review that is critical of AdvoCare or their products and you’ll see long winded paragraphs from people telling their amazing stories about how their lives were changed.
You may not see an issue with this, but it would make me not even want to associate myself with this business.
Once you get deep into recruiting, costs start to add up and the plan gets more complicated. It’s only $79 to become a distributor but to get deeper discounts on the products
To become an “Advisor” and get the 40% discount on orders you need to generate $3000 in sales for 3 pay periods or $6000 in a calendar year. (I’m assuming this is actual sales volume and not Business Volume, which is a different). This amount of sales volume must be maintained or you lose your Advisor status and all benefits, including eligibility for bonuses.
It’s been suggested by some distributors that you just buy $3k (total cost $2100), but make sure you sell it because it’s against the rules to store bulk amounts (regulated by FTC).
There’s a lot of talk about Overrides and they are very hard dot understand in the beginning. This sounds like a benefit, but it’s not. Usually you make 20% – 40% commissions. As you buy in bulk you start to receive discounts on products, which means you make more per each retail sale.
But if you recruit a recruiter, they are trying to achieve their Advisor status too. As they receive discounts based on bulk volume, you make less from their sales. For example, if you get a 30% discount, sell them products at a 20% discount, now you’re only making 10%.
Once both of you reach Advisor status, now you get a 40% discount and so do they. Your commission would be 0%. Somehow they decided on 7% as some kind of bonus for you. Confused? Yeah, that’s typical of network marketing payment schemes.
Super Gold Emerald Encrusted Triple Diamond Status
What would a network marketing compensation plan be without some ridiculous wealth-based names for unlocking levels of bonus payments? Here’s the ones featured at Advocare:
- double diamond
To be honest, I really don’t think the details of how much money you make for each of these bonus levels is important to explain at this point. Bonuses like this are very often rare to achieve, and if you actually get to the sales volume required to become past ruby (I’d be surprised), you can cross that bridge when you come to it.
The general rules are that you must make a certain volume of sales and maintain it for not only yourself, but for “legs” of your distributor network. Some levels require a certain dollar amount of override.
Want To Get Turned Off?
If found this video particularly incriminating as to the nature of this business. This lady uses some very odd language and there are a few key moments that sent up some red flags in my mind.
- Timestamp 2:05 – 2:30 Seems like she’s receiving prompts and talking about something she “should be”
- Timestamp 4:39 – 4:48 “We don’t want you giving answers”. Ummm, that doesn’t really make sense.
- Timestamp 6:57 – 7:09 Clearly de-emphasizing product and encouraging you to pitch the biz op
- Timestamp 7:18 – 8:27 Not so bad but I wasn’t too happy with trying to ‘downplay’ the guarantee and “watch your wording”
If you are interested in caffeinated drink mixes, buy them online. Personally, I would not want to get involved in any selling proposition where I had the potential to put people's health at risk. You may not think it, but there are plenty of risks you are taking on by selling supplements. Too much Omega3 fatty acids from fish oil has been linked to prostate cancer. Caffeine can cause numerous health issues if taken in appropriately or in conjunction with other medicine. Most people say, “it's just vitamins”, but even too much Vitamin C can cause problems.
When someone starts to have health issues and you are selling them pills, who do you think they're going to blame? You may know it's not your fault, but they might not be so easily convinced.
MLM VS Affiliate Marketing
Getting mixed up in the ugly world of network marketing is not something I recommend to ANYONE. Not only are you clamoring for sales among other desperate distributors, you have to constantly put up your defenses to explain to people that it’s not a pyramid scheme, and yes they absolutely need this product in their life (so you can make money).
Instead, why not start a small website and sell stuff online without all the confusing compensation plans and negative stereotype?
You can make a website about anything you want, including energy drinks if you really wanted to 🙂 This is what I do for a living.
There’s no need to pitch to family and friends, cold call, or approach people that aren’t interested. Because your website is listed in Google, the only people that you communicate with are ones that are already interested in buying, or at least in the topic you are writing about.
Instead of changing your habits to fit your business, why not tailor your business to your own personal interests? That is how I found my version of success doing online marketing.
Whatever type of product you decide to promote, it's important to own your own website to grow your business.
Parties only work if you have a network of friends with money in their pockets. Network marketing only works if your friends are interested in joining business opportunities.
With a website you can reach the entire world, and only promote great products to people interested in what you have to say. Plus, you open up doors to multiple streams of revenue like affiliate sales, ad click revenue, paid advertising, and even selling your own digital products.