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Amway Forever: The Amazing Story of a Global Business Phenomenon by Kathryn A. Jones

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Influences on Public Perception

Still, public perception can be slow to fade. When I told people I was working on a book about Amway, their typical responses were, “Isn’t that a pyramid scheme?” and “Don’t they sell soap?” Amway management grew more press-shy over the years, not feeling it got a fair shake in the media and dodging persistent accusations that it ran an illegal pyramid scheme despite the FTC ruling. “There was a very adversarial feeling between ourselves and the media early on, during the first publicity crises,” Jay wrote in his memoir. “Rich and I were incensed at first, then frustrated by the power newspapers and television had over the American public. The newspapers and television had the ability to define us for the public—to present a false image of what we were all about at Amway.”39 Jay went on to say that mainstream media had a “bias” against Amway because it and other network marketing firms rarely advertised in those outlets.

In 2007 the company began a two-year global transformation and rebranding—or “retro-branding,” as Steve and Doug call it—to return to the Amway name.40 Its parent company, Alticor, created a single, global brand—Amway Global—and invested more than $200 million to boost compensation to IBOs and an advertising campaign to bolster its reputation. The company now is called just “Amway,” but it’s a new Amway, company executives insist. “We are reintroducing a $1 billion start-up company,” says Steve Lieberman, vice president and managing ...

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