Will Amway Ads Affect the Gubernatorial Race?

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

Amway is running ads in the state's three largest television markets, trying to bolster the company's public image. The spots show Amway employees speaking positively about the company.

"Since it's a name that is getting talked about by a lot of people this year, we wanted people who work here to define the company," said Rob Zeiger, a spokesman for Amway parent, Alticor Inc.

Zeiger says the spots were the company's idea and were not discussed with the DeVos campaign, something campaign Spokesman John Truscott confirms.

We showed the ads to political pollster Ed Sarpolus, who is the vice president of EPIC-MRA.

"They're very good ads. They show employees in Michigan working," he said, adding that they could improve the company's image somewhat.

Sarpolus' polling shows perceptions of Amway mean something for Republican gubernatorial candidate and onetime Amway Exec, Dick DeVos.

"Twenty-one percent of people say they're less likely to vote for Dick DeVos because of that connection," Sarpolus said.

And, nearly 80-percent of those surveyed by Sarpolus, who affiliate Dick DeVos with Amway, say they'll be voting to reelect Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm.

That means DeVos could probably benefit from a boost in public perception about Amway. However, Sarpolus questions just how much of a boost the ads can give. He says the ads don't focus on the issues he says voters have with the direct marketing firm.

"The issue with Amway was never the quality of their products or the employees that make the products. It's the business practices and how they do their sales," Sarpolus said.

There is one more concern as well: The ads remind the pollster of spots touting the state's high tech economy, featuring actor Jeff Daniels.

"It allowed the Republicans to attack Governor Granholm, that she's just doing this to promote herself," Sarpolus said.

He says he sees a possible similar effect of these ads: All the attention focused on Amway will help link DeVos to the company in voters’ minds.


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