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|Headquarters||Guadalajara, Jalisco, México|
|Jorge Vergara (Chairman)|
|Products||Nutritional supplements, skin care, soft drinks|
Number of employees
Omnilife Group is a Mexico-based multi-level marketing company that distributes dietary supplements. The corporation is owned by Jorge Vergara, who also owns the football club Club Deportivo Guadalajara.
Vergara teamed up with two American colleagues and founded Omnitrion USA in 1989. On September 11, 1991, Omnitrion Mexico was officially founded. Vergara's associates later sold him the rights for Omnitrion Mexico, whose name was changed in 2000 to Omnilife. It began operations with three employers, six distributors and a total investment of $10,000. Its objective was to recruit many independent sales consultants to sell nutritional and dietary products to a broad public.
Vergara refers to the company's multilevel marketing as "Multidesarrollo", a model which he says is based on marketing methods he used as a distributor with Herbalife. As with other multi-level marketing companies, Omnilife contracts with independent sellers who, in turn, are encouraged to recruit more independent sales representatives under them to create a larger sales and distribution network. Describing the way in which Omnilife functions in Guatemala, anthropologist Diane Nelson describes it as a "direct-sales pyramid scheme (like Herbalife and Amway) in which one accumulates points by selling the product and recruiting more sellers.":292 Sales are made through a company catalog, but products can also be found in stores.
In her discussion of Omnilife in Guatemala, Nelson says that it "is a capital formation complexly linked to prosperity gospel forms, but also to Mayan heritage and post revolutionary dreams of improvement." Nelson is ambivalent about the role of the company in highland communities, but remarks that "it seems to offer both economic promise and ongoing, interethnic, communal therapeutics.":305
"People that take care of people" ("Gente que cuida a la gente") means, according to Vergara, bringing better health and vitality to many people through an energetic and dedicated marketing force. The company promotes empathy with clients, showing respect toward them and having patience with them. They also encourage clients to care for the environment, support education, and participate in sports activities. Observing the "Omnilife Basic Course" in Guatemala City, Diane Nelson notes that "the dynamic is Oprah Winfrey-esque, with a tough love feel and strong engagement from the audience.":299 At a later "Lack and Abundance" workshop, Nelson reports that participants were encouraged to share their stories of suffering and trauma, and were then asked to construct a "dream map" of their material and emotional aspirations.:301
Scandal in Chile
In August 2014, the TV program En su propia trampa demonstrated that the food products are sold as therapeutical products and miracle cures, and recorded with a hidden camera the presentations. Despite what vendors say, their products do not have any healing power and the permit that has the company only specifies that they are dietary supplements, without therapeutic effects. Another aspect was that, according to the testimonies of sellers, Omnilife charges a high business incorporation fee to the workers, promising big profits, which in practice are never materialized.
- Lowther, William (10 June 2001). "Body Shop Bidder Earned His Millions from 'Wonder Cures'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 November 2013 – via Questia Online Library.
- García de León, Verónica (5 June 2009). "Las ventas multinivel cambian de giro". CNN Expansión (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 August 2015.
- Whitefield, Mimi (16 November 2014). "Business leaders: Outlook is better; challenges ahead". Miami Herald. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
- Nelson, Diane (2013). "100 Percent Omnilife". In McAllister, Carlota; Nelson, Diane (eds.). War By Other Means: Aftermath in Post-Genocide Guatemala. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. pp. 285–306. ISBN 9780822377405.
- nacion.cl (19 August 2014). "Twitter celebra cómo cayeron "En su propia trampa" los chantas de Omnilife". Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
...compañía opera en 19 países y lucra con la salud de las personas vendiendo productos que aseguran cura el cáncer, el sida y varias otras enfermedades. Pero la realidad es que no producen ningún efecto en el organismo.
- "En su Propia Trampa deja al descubierto fraude de falsos fármacos milagrosos". 19 August 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
...empresa OmniLife, la cual vende productos que aseguran curar todo tipo de enfermedades, incluyendo el cáncer y el SIDA, pero que en realidad no surten ningún efecto en el organismo.