2008 Archives

Amway angling for a comeback in U.S.


The following is from the Dec. 25, 2008, edition of The Houston Chronicle. Marketing Professor Dan Howard of SMU's Cox School of Business provided expertise for this story.

December 29, 2008

The Associated Press 

ADA, Mich. — Once a household name and reputedly the key to great fortune for modern salesmen hoping to live out a Horatio Alger myth, the Amway brand faded from the American market years ago, tarnished by legal and regulatory problems.

The direct-seller of everything from health and beauty items to household cleaners repeatedly fought allegations that it was a pyramid scheme. The company also paid $20 million in fines in a Canadian criminal fraud case in 1983.

In 2000, after Amway become part of an umbrella company called Alticor Inc., the Amway name was dropped in the U.S. and Canada. The hope was that the company could emerge wholly remade in the world of online sales under a new moniker: Quixtar.

Now, as Amway's 50th anniversary approaches in May, Alticor is retiring the inert Quixtar label and pouring millions of dollars into reviving the Amway brand in North America with market research, national television commercials and ads in newspapers and magazines and online. The company will use a transitional name, Amway Global, before reverting in about a year to Amway. . .

Daniel Howard, a marketing professor at Southern Methodist University, says each term he asks his students whether they have heard of Amway, and each term "the vast majority" respond affirmatively.

"Branding is what marketing is all about, and the decision to do away with Quixtar was an excellent decision," he says. "The Amway name is already fairly well established in the minds of the American consumer."

The Quixtar name simply never caught on, company executives say.

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