News flash: watch for fake Nerium news flashes

You may have seen this:

News Flash: Nerium Skin Care Announces New Reports on Scientific Findings Behind Their Product After L’Oreal Receives  FDA Warning!

“Houston, Texas, September 17, 2012: The skin care company Nerium AD announced new reports that will appear on the company’s website explaining the science, research and development behind their product after the FDA gave out a formal warning to the L’Oreal skin care company.”

Yep, you read that right. Can you believe it?  BFT was surprised, too, but there it was, a news flash on PRWeb, right on my computer screen. This is exciting.

Finally, some answers. At last, we’ll learn the reason a toxic botanical extract capable of killing cancer cells can magically make normal cells healthier and younger looking. The Nerium people will solve the mystery that has perplexed us for many weeks. BFT can’t wait to get to the bottom of this story so it can move on to other mysteries in skincare.

Do the Nobel Prize people in Sweden know about this?  This is surely the kind of scientific breakthrough the inventor of dynamite meant to celebrate with fame and fortune.

From the Press Release

Before discussing the impact of this news release on BFT’s opinion of the Nerium MLM phenomenon, let’s read some of the press release.

After a new report was released revealing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is giving the L’Oreal skin care company a formal warning regarding how they promote their skin care products, Nerium skin care announced new reports on their company website about the science behind their products. The FDA issued the warning to L’Oreal regarding their anti-aging skin care products and have been advised to take certain steps to fix any language violations they have committed with the advertising and promotion of their products

With the FDA applying strict rules on all skin care companies, the Nerium skin care line decided to help customers avoid confusion with their products and have launched new reports on their website regarding the science behind their skin care products. The new reports, found in the company’s “Real Science” portion of their website will feature all of the information behind the scientist developed breakthrough that lead to the company’s skin care line as well as the research and findings that stand behind the product. Here customers can also learn about the skin care line’s patent pending formulas and find more about the age-defying product.”

So there you have it, only the first three of several statements in the press release about new scientific information being posted on the Nerium website to explain how NeriumAD works. That would be great if it was true. While it appears to be a rapid response by Nerium to a real news story about FDA concern and scrutiny about anti-aging claims in advertising, it is nothing of the sort.

So, What is New?  Nothing…zip, ziltch, nada.

BFT’s fact checking revealed that just one day prior to the Nerium news release, the   FDA had indeed issued a warning letter to L’Oreal about using language in its advertising that claimed some of its skin creams could “boost the activity of genes” or “stimulate cell regeneration” to reduce signs of aging – in other words, function like a drug.

Rather than believe Nerium took this as incentive to be more forthcoming in how their miracle anti-aging product actually performed, as the press release repeatedly implies, BFT decided to look into the matter a little deeper.

The truth is everything is status quo. How did BFT find out? By speaking with the people who posted the press release on PRWeb.

This press release was not posted by Nerium at all, but by a brand partner who is very enterprising. Making the FDA letter to L’Oreal their “hook”, press release copy was written to entice the reader to look further into the story by clicking on a link at the end. Guess where that leads – directly to the brand partner’s Nerium selling website.

BFT has got to hand it to them, savvy clever marketing, but in this case rather misleading.

Nerium seems to be everywhere and growing – but in BFT’s opinion by exaggeration, hype, and marketing messages that are misleading and inaccurate. BFT recently reported that Nerium’s alleged MD Anderson connection has been disavowed by MD Anderson, itself, on its website, and they deny any involvement or endorsement of the Nerium AD product. Yet, this connection is conspicuously touted everywhere one looks on the internet. By whom? By Nerium “brand partners”

As our first Nerium installment theorized, cleaver marketers grabbed a tenuous and tangential history (the nerium oleander cancer research story) and implied a relationship between cancer research and an anti-aging skincare product whose scientific foundation is still not explained. The press release implies it will now be revealed by Nerium, which BFT now knows is not true after a phone conversation with the people who wrote the press release – the lady who posted it and her husband.

“Please Tell Me About Nerium”

BFT called the authors of the press release and asked to find out when the new material would be posted on the Nerium website.

“It’s already there”

“Huh, the press release said that new information was going to be posted soon.”

“Well, they already have all the information on the website about MD Anderson and the cancer research and the accidental finding there that lead to the product.”

BFT was taken aback. “You mean the press release has nothing to do with new information being made public?”

“That right, it’s already on the Nerium website. It’s been there a long time.”

“Do the Nerium people know about this press release? BFT asked.

“We don’t know.”

BFT has a hunch they will soon.

At this point, BFT asked a couple of probing scientific questions and was immediately handed off to the husband because “he knows more about the science than I do.”

That was not true. His knowledge was no more deep or accurate than the two ladies at the Nerium booth at the Las Vegas esthetician show with whom BFT spoke in early June; the reason the entire Nerium series was begun.

Which Way Do They Go?

And herein is something very telling about the Nerium business model. It appears it is all about the frenzy of getting people to be brand partners below you as quickly as possible before someone else does. And the techniques used are ingenious. It has little to do with science…except the now disavowed MD Anderson connection. For those who haven’t yet seen it, here is the MD Anderson website, with its announcement “setting the record straight about MD Anderson and Nerium

As BFT learned, this husband and wife team claims they are “quite experienced in direct marketing”. Evidently, there are others like them. One need do nothing more than one internet search for Nerium to find scores, if not hundreds, of other websites – some very highly complementary of the product and others that are very critical.

Interestingly, and BFT may be one of the very few exceptions, even the critical sites transition during the reading into an opportunity to “click here to learn more” which takes the reader to, you guessed it, a brand partner’s website to pitch you into signing up to buy product or get more information. In either event, BFT is quite certain the curious soul, if and when they ever do decide to become a brand partner, is henceforth a “captive” to the 10 level marketing scheme exactly one level below the party responsible for the website to which the curious reader had first been lured.

Clever, effective and ingenious marketing method? Apparently so. Ethical and transparent business model? You be the judge. The majority of posts BFT has received in response to the Nerium series have little to say that is good about the product, the results they have seen in their skin, or the company.

Now, if we could only find out how this stuff works. From the many, many posts BFT has received since starting the Nerium series, nearly everyone who claims benefit just happens to be a brand partner. Don’t worry. There’s still room on the pyramid for those interested. BFT understands that if you are a good sales person and networker, there are even a few Lexus luxury cars still available.

26 Comments

  1. Josie says:

    When will the FDA investigate Nerium and its touted miracle skin care? Too often, consumers are like sheep being led to slaughter. There are a lot of wolves out there, aka ‘Brand Partners’!

    • Bob Brown says:

      Curious…have you tried the product yourself to reach your conclusion?

      • Drgeorge says:

        What conclusion are you referring to?
        The fact that there is no rational scientific mechanism of action put forth to explain purported benefits to normal cells when we know it is cytotoxic and lethal to abnormal cells. The fact that the new release of scientific information on the Nerium website is a total fabrication and misrepresentation of the truth, intended ONLY to get the unwary to click through to a brand partner’s website? The fact that “new” material is supposed to be forthcoming explaining the science when its all the same old stuff on the Nerium site since they launched? The fact that the MD Anderson connection as far as NeriumAD is concerned has been totally disavowed by none other than MD Anderson, itself?

      • AmbitiousBlonde says:

        I have tried the product for 30 days straight. I did not notice one single benefit to my skin. I noticed that my skin seemed a little drier. And for those of you who said, I most likely applied it wrong. I did not, I followed the directions to a T, avoiding salicylic acids, AHA & other anti-aging products. Every picture I see posted on Facebook, is more outrageous then the last. Some of the before & after pictures are down right ridiculous. Some may see results, but definitely not the results that they are promoting on their pictures. Lawsuit waiting to happen, in my opinion.

  2. Drgeorge says:

    They’re mostly sheep, not wolves. It’s an interesting phenomenon. A friend of my family was curious about Nerium and called to discuss it with me after learning that I had been actively involved into looking at it’s science…or rather, apparent lack of it. Not wanting to miss the boat while there was still time to get onboard and make a quick buck, he decided to become a brand partner. He had never tried the product. After politely listening to my cautions about the product, and marketing model, he plopped down $500 and immediately started promoting it on his Facebook page. Go figure.

  3. Drgeorge says:

    Update:
    As expected, the PRWeb post that was the genesis of this article has been removed, as has the grand announcement made just two days ago describing the unique partnership of Jeff Olsen, Nerium International, and all the other players in this melodrama. Apparently, someone realized that anyone with a lick of commonsense might look into the PRWeb posting and see the exact same “announcement” had been made over a year ago. You can see last year’s post at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/8/prweb8755747.htm .

    A different headline was used this time. Last year it was Unique Partnership Launches Breakthrough Skincare Line.

    One would think with a whole year between press releases,there might be some new news to announce…like the new scientific evidence that proves this miracle in a jar is good for skin. Of course, it appears someone may have gotten their hand slapped for using that ploy already to get downstream brand partners. Pernicious and predatory prevarication, me thinks.

    BTW: for anyone interested, a July 26, 2010 PRWEB piece describes the 10 most poisonous plants, Nerium oleander only made #3 but I now know NEVER to use a branch of the plant to roast a frankfurter over a fire…nasty stuff, indeed.

    The Deadly Problem of Poisonous Weeds: Scientists Recommend Learning to Identify and Avoid Plants that Produce Dangerous Toxins.

    “3. Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a woody shrub often planted in suburban landscapes and along roadsides. It is extremely toxic and produces a poisonous substance that can cause heart arrhythmia and cardiac arrest. DiTomaso cautions that you should never burn oleander branches – the fumes can be hazardous. He has even heard reports of severe illness when an oleander stick was used to roast a hotdog over an open fire.”
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/07/prweb4298154.htm

  4. Grayson says:

    Drs. I agree wholeheartedly with you – I get the pseudo science, the fake web postings, etc. I never have and never will get involved in any way in a MLM company. I didn’t even buy Mary Kay from my own mother. And yes, I have a BUT — I got interested in this topic because I ran into a woman recently who I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. She told me all about Nerium and how I could pay $110 per jar or pay $80 by signing up, etc., . . . but what bugs me is that she looked fantastic. I would have thought she had work done or botox or something. I guess my conclusion is that while the product may provide some improvement to the skin, it also contains toxins and therefore could lead to worse problems than sun spots. I can’t find where you address the fact that some people seem to be truly experiencing the results they say. I can’t believe this woman would intentionally lie (as in, she had a laser treatment but says she used Nerium) or that all of the photos on the company site are photoshopped. What do you think about these so called “real results”?

    • drjohn says:

      We see people all the time who have “amazing transformations” within a matter of days with nothing more than 1. an anti-inflammatory diet, and/or 2. an anti-inflammatory skin care product. Now, we don’t know than Nerium is anti-inflammatory, but we do know that alcohol extracts of the oleander plant can be anti-inflammatory. So, that’s a maybe, but even if true it wouldn’t address the longer term issues about mechanism of action (cytotoxins) that could lead to problems much later. Read the recent posts here about Avon Anew wrinkle eraser pro for insight into how a product might give great results at first, but then might lead to major problems later. Again, it’s all about understanding the mechanism of action at the cellular and tissue level.

  5. Ex-user Rita says:

    Dear Docs. I have been reading your blog, I am a user (or was since I realized the potential harm or danger I could be facing in my future because of these Nerium, last run club egos) Just so you know, I now hear of several of their people(National Marketing Directors) taking about your site. There is a corporate call today that is going to answer these questions and also state that one of you is EDITED and the other is a EDITED. You have an ax to grind, you are EDITED!!! according to Mr. Olson”s review of your blog and you both should be dismissed. Now, maybe all of that is true?? Care to comment? But, I still have not heard the long term side effects of using this product, or future ones in development. Why it works on some and NOT OTHERS!! constant reports of spots, cystic acne, reactions, eye irritations, breathing problems or dryness! So I guess you have hit a nerve.

    [Note - some comments are edited. We have standards.-Ed.]

    • drjohn says:

      We have been dismissed!

      But dismissing us and calling us names (we won’t repeat them – they are edited out above) doesn’t further the debate at all. These are merely diversion tactics — ad hominem attacks, instead of addressing the science issues. Nobody calls, nobody writes. They won’t debate the facts with us, despite so many invitations. We have promised to be open-minded, gentlemanly, and follow the rules of logical and civil debate.

      Attacking us instead of just answering our questions is a whole new element to the story, a David vs. Goliath sub plot (or maybe Ralph Nader vs. the Auto Industry), which may be just the angle needed for this to end up being broadcast over mainstream media. Watergate like cover ups tactics? Bazillion dollar MLM tries to silence science docs who blog as a public service? Might make a really good story for 60 Minutes. I suspect at that point we might really see the tide turn and the pyramid start to crumble.

      Attacking the BFT Docs also ignores that fact that the majority of what is written here in these pages is contributed by you, the readers. We have been one of the few places willing to air all sides of the debate, and let people give their personal reviews — good or bad. Sure, we ask a lot of questions (which never seem to be answered). But we are not the story. You, the contributing readers, are the lifeblood of these pages. Some minds cannot be easily controlled, as you folks teach us everyday. You are the reason we volunteer our time here.

  6. JP says:

    So what your saying is a brand partner did something wrong, was corrected by Nerium International and took it down? WOW what a horrible company LOL.

    • drjohn says:

      That’s odd, I didn’t see the press release apologizing for the phony press release written under Nerium’s banner, explaining how it happened, and assuring the PR web people it won’t happen again. That would have shown a bit of class. But wait, this company never makes mistakes. It was someone else’s fault. Those pesky brand partners are at it again. Oh wait – they are also the ones buying the product. Can’t get rid of them.

  7. Lorie says:

    A friend of mine has been trying to peddle this stuff and I was very leary of Nerium. She recently posted on her fb page claiming that a child could eat 400 bottles of Nerium and not even get sick! Another nifty post was this. 9 years ago Mark Zuckerberg invited 5 people to his Harvard dorm room to “get in” on a new idea. Only two people came and those two were Dustin Moskovitz who is worth 6.5 Billion and Eduardo Gaverin who is worth 3.4 Billion. This of course leads to an invitation to Nerium conference. Another quote is “Most expensive thing we own is a closed mind”. I just want to gag. Thank you for sharing and exposing the truth!!! Love reading the blog and standing up to the truth. I really do feel sorry for my friend, unfortunately both her and her husband have been duped, hook, line and sinker…..

  8. Elainie says:

    Thanks for writing these posts and this blog. I tried Nerium and wished it had worked for me. I am a seeker of the truth and this Nerium business is leaving a very bad taste in my mouth.

  9. Cindy says:

    I have used Nerium for about a month now – I have noticed a great difference – my wrinkles have decreased around my eyes – my pores are not so enlarged – my face is softer and my brown areas are beginning to disappear – however – I have in idea what the long term effects will be from using this- what will happen if I stop using it? I have a lot of unanswered questions and it concerns me as I have used it for 30 days now – great results- no problems! But what about the future results???

  10. David Cornell says:

    If it walks like a duck – quacks like a duck – looks like a duck by only it must be a duck. If it smells like a scam and the Internet is flooded with Nerium videos saying its not a scam, folk it’s time to use your brain.
    Hey try a little preperation H each day. FDA approved for shrinking Hemorrdial issue. For about $7 a tube it will last a month and help minor wrinkles. Nothing is better than good genes, good healthy lifestyle and hen as a last resort a good plastic surgeon. My ex- girlfriend is consumed with this Neium propaganda and she is a retired school teacher but having a difficult time with looking in the mirror and realizing from the time we are 30 years old we all start to lose that underlying moisture in our skin. Nobody is immune!

    • Ren says:

      I wonder how many of the Brand Partner’s actually use the product? Do you think CEO, Jeff Olson does??……Not

      • Annie says:

        I have read everything here and tend to agree. I did try Nerium and did see results on my skin, especially my neck/ chest area. I became a brand partner to buy at the “discounted price” of $80 + tax + ship. I liked this “new” product a lot so I looked into marketing it. Unfortunately, in my opinion, too, too many people started coming on board that did not represent results, and I felt their mere presence was degrading to the product. It starting feeling more like a money making MLM with those at the top reaping the benefits of all lured in by the “opportunity”… That is when I bailed. In the beginning, over a year ago for me, I just wanted to enjoy the product & results and to share with people who cared…but the masses promoting Nerium that started to accumulate, some with their unrealistic before and after photos ruined that for me….I’m over it.

        • Kyle says:

          This stuff works I’m happy that brand partners are making money rather then cosmetic companies. My roommates acne is gone and he has tried everything in the past decade and this is the only thing that works. My skin is much better why wouldn’t I want to share the product?

          • drjohn says:

            By “share it” you mean sell it, right? Or are you just giving it away? Did you sell your roommate? Your Mom? Dad? Aunt Millie? No, we don’t think all network marketing is evil. But we continue to hear so many stories about relationships being changed by taking what was once family & friends, and making them customers, or worse yet downstream underlings.

  11. Mirna Aceves says:

    So I read that their active ingredient Nae-8 is not patented as an antioxidant. What does that mean? I been somewhat attacked by a Nerium agent, I need a comeback LOL.

    • drjohn says:

      Remember Dr. Newman, whom Nerium touts as the the inventor of all this?

      Newman et al. (J. Experimental Therapeutics and Oncology (2006), 5, 167-181) report that incubation of human BRO cells with oleandrin results in a time-dependent formation of reactive oxygen species, superoxide anion radicals, that mediate mitochondrial injury and loss of cellular GSH pools.

      This is the textbook definition of pro-oxidation, not anti-oxidation. They need to get their story straight.

      • Drgeorge says:

        Mirna, Drjohn is exactly right. What Nerium is now expecting the consuming public to believe is that the potion they sell is an “anti-oxidant” and that is why it produces such miraculous benefit in such short periods of time. (more about that below). It’s a much more palatable explanation because we have all heard about the benefits of anti-oxidants in juices, foods, nutritional supplements and skincare products. Perfectly logical, right?

        One would think so, but what about all the scientific proof they have espoused previously (the science published by Dr. Newman) that discussed the exact OPPOSITE biochemical concept i.e. pro-oxidation. That’s why the cancer cells succumbed.

        Now, the purported scientific foundation of Nerium AD is even more confusing. Why is it now an anti-oxidant, when prior explanations were it’s active oleandrin produces oxidative stress? They can’t have it both ways but we doubt few, except science minded types, will ever notice.

        Even so, the benefits of anti-oxidants are to counteract the effects of ongoing oxidative stress (reactive oxygen species) which is beneficial in preventing damage but not in rapid repair of already existing injury.That’s not how they work.

        We continue to hope (after more than a year of waiting, BFT is not holding its breath) that someone from the science team of the Nerium organization will come onto BFT to post the definitive answers about the mechanism of action and safety that the consuming public needs and deserves. This certainly isn’t it.

        • Heidi says:

          NeriumAD IS patented now. The first and only ever in the history of skin care patented skin care intoxicant. The patent pretty much proves that NeriumAD does what it claims. I’ve been using it for almost a year & constantly get compliments on my skin from total strangers. Friends think Ive had work done. I’ve been a licensed hair & makeup artist for 23 years and have never used anything like this. I’m now sharing it with my clients.

          • drjohn says:

            Heidi has imbibed the kool aid, and is now spreading the manure thickly among her unsuspecting clients and on the internet. Here are the bare faced lies. First, she refers to a method patent for extracting oleandrin and other poisonous cardiac glycosides from nerium species plants. Method patents of this type are exceedingly common (not “the first and only” by a long shot) and prove nothing about efficacy. Such proof is not even the point of a patent. A patent merely provides financial protection – the patent office does not evaluate claims for efficacy or safety. So, the patent “proves” nothing about efficacy or safety. Heidi brags about sharing it with her clients, which roughly translates to her hope to get rich and drive a Lexus when the gets them to believe the lies and get under her on the pyramid, so she can profit when they spread the same false notions to their friends.

  12. patriot888 says:

    I also tried it for nearly two months. Frankly, not only did it not do anything of value, I think my face is rougher and blotchier.

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