If you’re a college-age Bro in your late-teens or early 20s, you’re probably familiar with Vemma, a company that aspires to “make a positive difference starts with people helping people.” If that vague, meaningless mission statement sounds like bullshit to you, you’re right! It is!
Vemma makes nutritional supplements, weight loss drinks, and energy drinks that it proclaims are revolutionary. Notably, its Bod-e and Verve drinks. But the reality is that it’s a classic multi-level marketing pyramid scheme that the FTC says has generated $200 million in annual sales. It targets impressionable college-age men (like the Bro in the pic above) who want to get rich fast and retire at the age of 24 with a Ferrari and four vacation condos. Maybe you know a meathead on your Facebook or Insta or Twitter feed who drank Vemma’s Kool-Aid and bought into the scheme — A lot of college-aged Bros do. They’re usually super obnoxious about it.
Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission shut Vemma down and seized the company’s assets, ruling that it’s an illegal pyramid scheme. Via CNBC:
The consumer protection agency said that Vemma told recruits that they could make as much as $50,000 per week selling its nutritional beverage Vemma, energy drink Verge or protein shake Bod-e. An initial investment of $600 was paid for products and business tools and $150 in Vemma products had to be bought each month to receive bonuses. The FTC said Vemma provided little help on how to sell its products and instead rewarded them for recruiting more people.
Vemma earned $200 million a year in 2013 and 2014, according to the FTC.
A federal court in Arizona temporarily seized the company’s assets. Products on Vemma’s website could not be bought Wednesday. The website said that products were “temporarily unavailable at this time.”
In the complaint, the FTC said Vemma employees visited college campuses and told students that selling the beverages was an alternative to a regular job. Its marketing materials features young people in luxury vehicles, jets and yachts, the FTC said.
Vemma was then collecting that money from their “distributors” who were busy pushing meaningless products on their friends. Eventually, over 170 complaints to the FTC were made against the company.
Apparently Vemma’s messaging had some appeal to college-age douchebags. Rolling Stone did a decent profile on the type of young, impressionable Bros who bought into the Vemma way of business. And people like this guy flooded their Facebook and Twitter feeds with moronic (and relatively hollow) inspirational and aspirational messages like this:
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) November 6, 2014
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsWonder how his retirement plan is doing today. And this sucker:
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) October 9, 2014
Meanwhile, the head of the company is convinced he has a fighting chance. Here’s the B.S. he rattled off on Instagram:
Our own Tanner Blaze had a really good Twitter rant about Vemma last night. It’s worth your time.
And the @YPRbroYPR Twitter account has been making fun of the douchebags who talk about Vemma like it’s the greatest shit ever for years. Here are some of my favorites:
College is a scam bro
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) November 4, 2014
Replaced my bong water with Verve for my daily wake and bake. I hallucinated that I was a millionaire and began yelling motivational quotes
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) November 5, 2014
You broke minded idiots have school or work today while I sit in my Moms basement smoking weed, watching YouTube and racking residual income
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) November 3, 2014
— alex starr (@alexstahh527) October 31, 2014
A case of Redbull costs $38.00 A case of Verve costs $75.00 But that's none of my business 🐸☕️
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) October 13, 2014
Me and my YPR bros are dressing up as Millionaires to go trick or treating! Mom says we can't stay out late but fuck that, I'm my own boss!
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) October 31, 2014
Just slammed a Verve and then discovered of the cure for cancer. I'm not telling anyone unless they buy a Builder Pack. No Refunds #YPR
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) October 29, 2014
Bro I just made two bucks in my sleep……still think it's a scam?
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) October 27, 2014
Just got pulled over in the Beamer! I rolled down the window, sold the cop a Builder Pack and let him off with a warning not to be average
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) October 24, 2014
Bro our company just got shut down by the Federal Trade Commission for being an illegal pyramid scheme….still think it's a scam?
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) August 26, 2015
Sorry about your company bro. Have fun in prison! I heard there's lots of "once in a lifetime opportunities" in there @bkboreyko
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) August 26, 2015
And especially this one from today:
Vemma Douches Be Like….. pic.twitter.com/HMgk9kHPCU
— Vemma Verve (@YPRbroYPR) August 27, 2015
Sorry if you thought you were going to get rich, Bros. Better luck next time.