The success of multi-level marketing companies and pyramid schemes has been based partly upon favorable media coverage of the industry. The MLMs put out plenty of positive press releases, resulting in numerous fluff pieces in newspapers and magazines over the years.
Mary Kay Cosmetics encourages fluff pieces, especially whenever a new Mary Kay national sales director is appointed. The company hounds local newspapers to run these stories, and the newspapers fall for the bait that makes the stories sound compelling: only 500 national sales directors worldwide, millions of dollars of products “sold” by the teams created by these women, huge accomplishment to get to the top of the pyramid, etc.
But this article in the Salt Lake Tribune turned out a little differently than Mary Kay intended it. Thanks to the investigative reporting by Steven Oberbeck, he got readers to consider the “other side” of the Mary Kay issue.