This is a funny update to the Xocai healthy chocolate story. For background, Xocai is marketed as a product that is good for you – “high levels of natural antioxidants and Polyphenols that are found in its cacao can provide a viable solution to individual nutritional needs”. (Or, you can just eat a balanced diet.) But, in reality, the importance of the company is in their recruitment of distributors, that is, a multi-level marketing business, like Amway.
The effect of the massive positive media attention this summer therefore had a tremendous impact on the further spread of the “Healthy Chocolate” concept and it looks like this trend also spread internationally. Since 2008, the recruitment pace has been increased by 2/3 on a global scale and this year in particular has been a historical high for the company with over 11,220 new distributors enlisted.
Sjokoservice Norway’s spokesperson Roger Meyer, the man behind the serious growth had their websites on the domain Sjokolade4you.no but these websites are now updated. The same goes for the website to Sjokoservice Norway. Good news not just for skeptics but consumers of chocolate everywhere. This is the Streisand Effect in full motion.
In a word: spin. The Norwegian blogs are calling a bluff.
Green has undoubtedly caught wind of the publicity disaster caused by Sjokoservice in 2012, and has made several valiant efforts to turn the situation to his benefit. He has made sure to post several articles that contain many of the same keywords used by the critics, for instance “chocolate mafia” or “the Streisand Effect”. He also claims that the Norwegian blogger Gunnar Tjomlid has gone back on his earlier statements and asked Sjokoservice´s forgiveness.
Undoubtedly, his latest stunt was inspired by the statistics published in this blog. They show that the recruitment numbers in Norway have dramatically fallen, and that the trend internationally also has been negative in the second half of 2012. He has then published his own statistics that show a massive increase in the Norwegian market after the media hubbub last summer, and salutes the Streisand effect. The problem is that these numbers don´t in any way match real life, but are a complete sham![…]Green´s claim that roughly 11 000 new Xocai distributors were recruited, of which almost 4 000 were Norwegian, in 2012. If this were the case, Norway would be the site of a third of the recruitment in 2012.
Green hasn’t even taken the trouble to check whether the numbers he pulled out of thin air are internally consistent. He claims that, on average 654 new distributors have been recruited each month in 2012, which should make 8 000 new distributors. Not that it matters, since people with math skills beyond the very very basic probably are outside Green’s target audience.
Shrewd. Working on search engine optimization techniques. Well, we can always link to sites that question this tactic. I’m not clear if he is even making an effort to use the Streisand effect. Is he suggesting that the BAD publicity increased the bottom line? This is disputable. Frankly, the brand seems to have been dealt a blow from this episode and I don’t think it can gloss that over with a self-congratulatory press release. But it’s a good example of how these promotions work. Xocai is about marketing. Is the product worthwhile? Don’t believe the hype.
Tip: @4brooker via Twitter
UPDATE (9 Jan 2013) : And now he has added “Doubtful News” to the title of the piece. Pretty hilarious. Won’t work.