Case Study


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In December 2012, activist investor Bill Ackman placed a $1B short on Herbalife stock and immediately launched an unprecedented campaign to influence regulators and elected officials in an effort to destroy the company. At the time, Herbalife, a highly regarded but little known direct-selling nutrition company, did not have the infrastructure for the fight.

Herbalife hired SKDK in early 2014 to coordinate the defense and counter attack. First and foremost was creating a campaign that put the people of Herbalife – small businesspeople who care about the health and nutrition of their friends and neighbors – out front.


SKDK managed a campaign that included: a proactive and defensive communications strategy; coalition support for a concurrent lobbying campaign to educated elected officials; digital, print and television advertising; third party engagement; and social media.

Herbalife Vindicated

A multi-year investigation by the FTC, prompted by Ackman supporters, concluded in July 2016, and Herbalife has been cleared of the pyramid scheme allegations.

Meanwhile, after a prolonged defensive campaign, Ackman has finally lost credibility with the public and his investors. With the FTC’s favorable ruling, and SKDK’s help, Herbalife is now able to move forward as a company and focus its attention on growing its successful business.

For its work with Herbalife, SKDK won the Holmes Report’s 2017 SABRE Award for Crisis Management Excellence in North America.

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  • Fortune

    The siege of Herbalife

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  • The Motley Fool

    FTC: Herbalife Is Not a Pyramid Scheme

    Read Article
  • Fortune

    Investors Pull $600M After Ackman’s Bad Bets

    Read Article
  • The Hill

    The FTC got it right on Herbalife settlement

    Read Article
  • Breitbart

    Bill Ackman Can’t Manage to Destroy Herbalife

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  • The Street

    Ackman's Vision of Pyramid Scheme at Herbalife Just a Mirage

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  • Business Insider

    Bill Ackman is getting obliterated

    Read Article
  • AFP

    Herbalife ruled not a pyramid scheme

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