Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shaklee Loses Major Endorser

Shaklee Loses Major Endorser
Harvard Anti-Aging Researcher Quits Board

December 30th, 2008
A prominent Harvard Medical School scientist quit the scientific advisory board of Shaklee last week claiming they misused his name to promote one of their anti-aging drink products.

David Sinclair, a geneticist who conducts longevity research, joined Shaklee's advisory board last August and has spoken at a Shaklee convention about the antioxidant resveratrol, which is an ingredient in Shaklee's Vivix drink product. When The Wall Street Journal contacted Sinclair and questioned his apparent endorsement of this product he resigned from his position with Shaklee. Sinclair told the WSJ, "This decision was prompted in significant part by my recent realization as to how my association with Shaklee and my research have been used contrary to the intents and purposes of my agreement... To my dismay I have found numerous uses of my name and reputation on the Web and in other media that implies endorsement by me of Shaklee's Vivix product". Although no legal action has yet been taken, Sinclair is quoted in The WSJ as stating, "I have engaged counsel to deal with this matter and have demanded that Shaklee cease using my name."

In a statement to The WSJ, Shaklee disagreed with Sinclair saying, "every implied product endorsement was in Dr. Sinclair's own words, and every Shaklee use of his name - whether in print or video - was preapproved by him in keeping with our agreement."

A Harvard spokesman said the agreement between Sinclair and Shaklee was reviewed by Harvard, and confirmed that "The Harvard name is not allowed to be used to endorse products, and faculty and researchers are not allowed to use their affiliation as a means to endorse a product."

The Wall Street Journal article can be viewed here:



Did Shaklee corporate overstep the boundaries of their agreement with Dr. Sinclair? Did Dr. Sinclair "endorse" Shaklee's Vivix product?

Well, thanks to the advent of cell phone video we don't have to wonder. Just watch HERE.

Although Dr. Sinclair never specifically mentions the Vivix brand, he does pretty clearly imply that he's talking about a specific Shaklee product, or products. Dr. Sinclair will likely have to answer to Harvard as to whether there was a conflict of interest here, and the fact Sinclair was paid to be on Shaklee's board probably won't help his case.

But here's the bottom line: They're both right. I can find zero evidence that Shaklee, the company, has in any way imbued more credibility to their Vivix product than Dr. Sinclair already has in his own words. But then, when I went online and reviewed what's out there regarding Dr. Sinclair and Vivix I surely saw the same thing he's referring to when he said "To my dismay I have found numerous uses of my name and reputation on the Web... that implies endorsement by me of Shaklee's Vivix product."

In other words, it's the fault of Shaklee distributors for assuming Dr. Sinclair's clearly implied endorsement, as seen on the video, was legitimate and sincere.

Len Clements
Founder & CEO
MarketWave, Inc.

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