WHAT: John Oliver delivers a multi-level takedown of the massive, pyramid-shaped, $36 billion multi-level marketing industry.
WHO: Last Week Tonight
WHY WE CARE: As the old saying goes, if it looks like a pyramid scheme, walks like a pyramid scheme, and swims like a pyramid scheme . . . the FTC will probably still not technically call it a pyramid scheme. But! John Oliver is not afraid of your builder, jade, double-black-diamond status, or NFL star Drew Brees, and here delivers a scathing rebuke to this massive, yet massively under-reported-on industry. For the crux of his argument for multi-level marketing companies being just elaborate pyramid schemes, he shines a light on Herbalife, which had $4.5 billion in sales last year. Yep, that's billion, with a B.
We get a mind-bending walk through the company's dubious health claims, its business model that is based more on signing up other sales people than actual sales, and its somewhat rocky relationship with authorities—like this summer's $200 million settlement with the FTC—so you can decide whether these brands are a pyramid, not a pyramid, or not not a pyramid" for yourself.