Herbalife Ltd. In A PR Battle With Critics


A day after a couple of former Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) distributors shared their stories of how they believe the company ripped them off, Herbalife has struck back. The company has sent out six identical press releases—a move that one Seeking Alpha contributor calls “a bonehead PR move.” Indeed, it seems like the multi-level marketing company may be trying too hard to beat down its critics, or maybe it feels like it’s fighting an uphill battle at this stage.

Herbalife highlights positive stories

Herbalife’s press release is titled: “Herbalife Members Say: ‘Herbalife Has Positive Impact On The Lives And Health Of Millions Of Members, Consumers And Communities.'” Once again, representatives for the company have descended on Washington to lobby on its behalf. The company said 21 members from six different states flew to Washington to speak with lawmakers and “highlight economic and entrepreneurship opportunities.”

The nutritional supplements company said those who went to Washington represent 550,000 independent members. Herbalife added that it has about 54,000 “independent Herbalife businesses that contribute to local economies and communities across the U.S.”

This is the second time the company has sent members to speak with lawmakers in Washington. As usual, they highlighted the products themselves and explained that almost three-quarters of Herbalife members use the products. However, only about 25% of members “are so passionate about Herbalife that they have chosen to sell the products.”

The company also said it offers real opportunities for entrepreneurs and helps people lead healthier lives. It also claims to have the “best consumer protections in the direct selling industry” and be an “active and engaged corporate citizen.”

The lobbying battle with Herbalife

The press release doesn’t actually include any concrete numbers other than that only 25% of its members actually sell the products. Seeking Alpha contributor Quoth the Raven said Herbalife has done some other “bizarre” PR stunts in the past. For example, the company ran a contest on its website for the “best testimonial.” In addition, Herbalife created a Twitter account he said causes the micro-blogging platform’s users to be “force fed grade A bologna.”

No doubt the press release that’s plastered everywhere today is in response to the personal stories shared in The Wall Street Journal by a couple of former Herbalife distributors. One said he lost $30,000 trying to sell the product, while another said he lost $16,000. These stories are starting to become so commonplace that the company faces investigations in multiple jurisdictions.

Shares of Herbalife declined by more than 1% in morning trading today.

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About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at Mjones@valuewalk.com.

5 Comments on "Herbalife Ltd. In A PR Battle With Critics"

  1. tex would know, tex lost over 100,000 in AMWAY. I had no idea anyone was that dumb

  2. you are too scared to short hlf…fear is good in many cases and I feel it is in the case of shorting hlf. they have good products, been around for 40 years, and will be around for 40 more, many people say the products are priced too high while they order a refill of their starbucks special brew at 12 bucks a cup…..i believe George soros is the smartest and greatest trader of all times and he now only gambles with his own money..soros recently upped his stake in hlf by more than 100 million dollars AFTER THE FTC announced their investigation of hlf.read up on stiritz, druckenmiller, kyle bass, carl Icahn, Richard perry and all the other billionaires who have taken control of the stock of hlf. they are indeed the DREAM TEAM…

  3. Herbalife operates very similar to Amway, the largest MLM scam on the planet: http://www.stoptheamwaytoolscam.wordpress.com

    HLF should be less concerned with online critics, and more concerned about the FTC, SEC, DOJ, FBI, at least 2 state AGs, and probably the FDA investigations.

  4. Unfortunately, most people don’t come forward after they’ve been ripped off by HLF or other MLM scams, as they’ve been told it’s their fault if they failed, they are embarrassed, ashamed, etc. Even less come forward when they are here illegally. Therefore, 13 is not only “commonplace,” it is widespread. LOL

  5. what’s your definition of “commonplace?” 13 complaints in the state of Illinois? Multiple posts of stories of Latinos selling to other Latinos?

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