MLM = Multi-level marketing

The official drink of Jesus = MonaVie

Every few years, it seems that born again Christians latch onto the latest MLM scheme and use church to establish their downline for recurring sales. Awhile back, it was Arbonne, the skin care company and apparently, now it’s MonaVie, you know, the superfruit, voodoo juice made from the seemly overexposed Acai berry.

Most recruits to MLM ventures are taught to leverage their “warm market” of friends and family members in order to grow their business which is why church makes perfect sense when looking for a greenfield opportunity.

In a recent Gallup poll, 13% of churchgoers attend church because it serves explicit social functions such as making business contacts and socializing with other members of the community.

Everyone who has tried to get me to buy MonaVie has been a born again Christian. And I don’t even attend church. Chalk one up for evangelism!

Brian Dunning at Skeptoid explores MonaVie’s business model:

Have a seat and pour yourself a glass of the newest anti-aging megafad, superfruit juice. What is it? What does it claim to do for your body? How does it work? Is it really worth up to $50 per one-week supply?

There are many of these superfruit juices for sale, and lots of them (like MonaVie) are sold through Amway-style multilevel marketing schemes. You’ve probably heard the question asked if you can make a better hamburger than McDonald’s. Yes, of course you can. But: Can you build a better business than McDonald’s? No. It’s not about the hamburgers. McDonald’s is not in the food business; they are in the real estate business. This same concept, at least at face value, appears to apply to MonaVie and its ilk. They are not in the fruit juice business; they are in the multilevel marketing business. Their product, like the Big Mac, is secondary to their business model. But let us not make a leap of logic and conclude that superfruit juices are the Chicken McNugget of fruit juice. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, and listen to their specific claims. [Continue reading here.]

Or skip to his conclusion:

Be skeptical. Superfruit juices are a business model first; a salable product second; and a well-evidenced health product a distant third.

Two other posts that you might find interesting from the personal finance blogosphere:

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with trying to be healthy and if you want to drink MonaVie that’s your business. I swallow two tablespoons daily of a liquid vitamin and mineral supplement (whole food based) and yes, recently even added two tablespoons of Acai100 juice from Genesis Today for a fraction of what I’d spend drinking Jesus juice. I purchased both concoctions from my local health food store after reading the chapter on organic supplements in Love Yourself and Live on Purpose by Dr. Lana Marconi. And by the way, she makes no mention of MonaVie!

So all this begs a few questions… have you ever been approached by anyone selling MonaVie? How do you handle friends and family members trying to get you to buy products through MLM schemes? Do you agree with my non-scientific conclusion that Christians are the best disciples of network marketing? [Although Brian at Skeptoid heard about MonaVie through one his Facebook friends.] I look forward to reading your comments and personal experiences below. No berry salvation required.

Photo credit: Loving Life 2008 on Flickr.