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SMI, SMI and Associates, Sports Marketing International / Dishonest, Misleading Job Scam Takes Advantage of Young, Naive Job Seekers

1 2801 S. Fairfield Ave. #ALombard, IL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 630-810-9012

Sports Marketing International, SMI and Associates, SMI is a scam! Their ads are up all over the internet. CareerBuilder,, Companies like this constantly change their name to avoid being found out and to avoid prosecution... their former name was Boomerang Marketing.

They will tell you they have "big wig" clients like the White Sox. This is NOT marketing. It is door-to-door dishonest soliciting. Dishonest to consumers and dishonest to their employees.

Please do not fall for their schemes! Sports Marketing International (SMI and Associates), and the like, prey on young, naive college graduates, servers, athletes. Sports Marketing International doesn't do a stitch of marketing consulting work for any sports teams (or any other place for that matter). This is straight up dishonest sales. If you are still working at SMI and Associates, I beg you to get out now!

Oh, and as an independant contractor (as that is how Sports Marketing International will "hire" you) you ARE required to file your sales on your taxes. The "manager" at this place (Greg) is encouraging employees at SMI and Associates to participate in illegal activities, such as soliciting in governmentally protected non-soliciting areas, and not file taxes. He is putting you in very illegal situations and manipulating you!

It is NOT normal to work long 10 hour days and no even be on the company's payroll. You are NOT your own manager (as the company tries to make you think you are), you have a sly, manipulative, fast-talking boss standing over your shoulder telling you you can't leave until you have sold all of your items!

Please, I beg you to NOT apply to this company, or anything affiliated with Doug Ascher, SmartCircle, SMI and Associates, or Sports Marketing International.

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  • Vi
      30th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    haha, i completely agree. i'm pursuing new jobs as mine is currently on the rocks. well i've been on job hunting sites like monster and saw this company SMI, which I think is also listed as Hybrid, Inc. haha. anyway, i go there yesterday, to the Lombard office and meet Greg. he says the interview will last 20-25 minutes. it's done in less than 10 mins. the guy barely asks me any questions about my background and doesnt even leave room for me to ask questions. he also draws a very quick diagram on the structure of the program, saying it's a fast-paced 6 month program to become a manager. reminds me of how those Quixtar guys draw quick diagrams for you. the craziest thing though, he says he's interviewing about 25 people and has only spots for 7-8 people for second round interviews. he calls me in the evening and says, "Congratulations, you made the second round. Only 6 people made it and you were one of them. Now this round is an all day interview." I told him I'd go, but after doing some more research and especially reading your comment, I'm absolutely convinced it's a scam. cuz there is no way you interview 25 people in a day and choose 6, that is ridiculous. this is probably a pyramid scheme of some sort. probably the funniest thing that he said was he used to work for a Industry Leader somewhere and took this job as an Entry Level Manager. yea right. if he were working for an industry leader, he would never have taken this job, unless he's one of the clowns whose idea it was to trick naive people, like I once was, into making cash for him. trippin!

  • To
      30th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    hahaha the first post and the comment are completely true. The guy didnt even have his top button done, and had like 15 interview packets right in front of me on his desk like he had been doing interviews all day. He does his sales tactics like they are right out of the book. Creates urgency with 25 candidates, called me and said 8 made the list and that I was on it. I am going on a second day just so I can see how scam loaded this place is. Probably not quite as bad as JT Marlin from Boiler Room, but I am very interested to see the comparisons. ABC, and not to make some other guy the cash.

  • Li
      13th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    SMI is truly a disgusting scam. My poor brother "broke his neck" to get to this interview. Not only did he borrow an interview suit, but also took the el from the city, the metra and then a cab. He is a smart young guy trying to find a job - not easy in this market. Everything he was told and went through with the "interview process” is verbatim of the other postings on this site. He was blatantly lied to and misled. Thank goodness my brother's instincts told him to look into this outfit further. Life is not easy, ya gotta be smart people. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Jo
      19th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    Wow! I have an interview today at 12:45 with SMI. I decided to do a little research ahead of time and found a wealth of negative information. I will definitely not be making the 26 mile trek out to Lombard for this kind of scam. Thanks for getting the word out guys and saving me the time and effort and frustration of going through the hassle of unraveling the scam myself.

  • Ka
      26th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    Thanks for the Warning! I recently got an email from them stating that they are very interested in my background. After reading these comments I'm glad I didn't waste my time. Thanks!

  • Er
      30th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    Thanks for the heads up lol. I am also glad that I did not waste my time with this scam.
    Good idea, but needs legitimate people and business practices behind it, too bad.

  • Jo
      4th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    I had sent in my resume to these people through and received a response and interest to interview me. I am supposed to meet them today in Sherman Oaks, CA but I'm not going. Thanks for the heads up everyone.

  • Ry
      7th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes


  • Ma
      10th of Dec, 2008
    +1 Votes

    Joe I feel your pain. I went to the Sherman Oaks "office". I Be glad you didn't go. What a freakin' joke. I actually made the mistake of going to the 2nd interview, again, it took only of 5 minutes. They wanted me to follow them to Sam's Club to see how their business works. Yeah, I took the bus so I didn't have my car. The dude says, "well call me back at like 3:00 and I'll let ya know if ya got a 3rd interview." Call him back and guess what...another interview and plan on a long day tomorrow. What a freakin' tool!! I'm glad I found this website to confirm my suspicions about this company and their scam. Thanks to all that have contributed to outting the posers.

  • Ma
      10th of Dec, 2008
    +1 Votes

    The Landers Group IS Kelly Advertising, Granton Marketing, DS Max. I found all these former names on /link removed/ Anyone that gets an e-mail from any of these companies don't answer it. The saying is true, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is." Well, this one is 100% not true. I tell ya' what's pretty stinkin' funny though. Call the Sports Marketing International phone number (818-907-0175), and just start yankin' their chain. If you call and ask for The Landers Group (their most recent name, R.I.P.), they will acknowledge it. Yet, they still answer the phone Sports Marketing International. To really screw with them, say you got an e-mail from Granton Marketing and you were calling to set up an interview. When they dodge that bullet, tell them you have another e-mail from Kelly Advertising with the same number. And so on, with as many names as you can find. You'll get put on hold a couple of times, but if you don't mind that then it's a pretty good time. You're not on hold for long. Just long enough for the person on the other end of the line to look to their boss and say, "Ummmm...This person knows more than they should, and I don't know what to say back." Made me laugh. Enjoy if you try and be sure to let the rest of us know how it went. What a bunch of tools.

  • Wo
      11th of Dec, 2008
    -1 Votes

    This thread is a little off topic.

    1. You are all talking about 5 different companies.
    2. 1 guy that nobody has ever meet, ever spoken with outside of this blog, or ever come in contact with, is writing his opinion on something, and everyone takes it as gospel truth...isn't that how hate, rumors, fabrications, and paranoia is started???
    Wal-Mart is rated the best company to work for, yet they have a website with over 5, 000 ex-employee members dedicated to saying "they suck". Tom Brady is one of the greatest QB's ever, yet there are people that will tell you he is terrible. Do people honestly believe one disgruntled person's beliefs that much as to accept it as truth.
    I work there currently and yes, I work very hard and long hours. Yes, I make commision, but I also get a ton of bonuses. Yes, some people are not cut out for sales or face to face type presentations. But that's exactly why they have a full day interview to come see if it is for you or not. I've worked at many places where what I was told was not what I ended up doing. I saw the sales and marketing first hand, something I was very impressed they'd show me on an interview.

    Also, saying that business to business sales/marketing and event based sales/ marketing isn't "real marketing" should be the reason everyone discredited this guy's post in the first place. Ask any CEO on the planet which is better; Print, Radio, Internet, or Face to Face marketing/sales/advertising...I bet I know the answer. Ever wonder why so many companies are going under and so few "traditional marketing" jobs exist? It's not cost effective. I went to school for Graphic Design. I learned the hard way that I spent $80, 000 on a degree with no future.

    Also, Sports Marketing Int'l doesn't just do B2B sales. We are doing marketing events at hospitals, sporting events, Retail chains, etc...and by the way, they DO work with the White Sox, the Bucks, etc...I've already been to 3 games with the office where the tickets were provided by the client's themselves. I went to the Minneapolis affiliate office and when I was there, we went to a Timberwolves game where the VP of Marketing gave the whole office a suite and came and said "hi" at halftime. Also, from Day One, I was told of the 1099 status for the "field sales" I did, AND I was told EXACTLY how to file taxes and the tax breaks I receive. And I don't know what you are looking for monetarily in life, but if it's more than $30, 000, then, yes, 10 hour workdays are pretty normal. In fact it IS the norm, like it or not, if you want to get ahead these days. (God knows I'd love to work in Spain and get a siesta break everyday, but that ain't the case here stateside)

    For those of you really looking for a career, I have no idea if SMI is for you or not, but listening to some dude you've never met ramble on about stuff he has no clue on, is probably not the best source of "good info" on a company you can find. If you believe that type of stuff, I've got some real ground-breaking info for you on a huge alien conspiracy involving terrorists, WMD's and Barack Obama I'm sure you'd like to read on DarthVader4ever's blog site on Myspace and it must be true because it's on the internet right???...geesshh

  • Th
      15th of Dec, 2008
    -1 Votes

    Yes, it is in fact a pyramid scheme. When they tell you that you start out at the bottom and then get people to work below you to help you move up that is pretty much the definition.

    IT IS DOOR TO DOOR SALES, plain and simple. It blows. It especially blows in the winter in Chicago. Trust me.

    No, it is not for everyone. You do in fact learn a few things about life on your 12 hour days. You meet some good people, can make some money every now and then, and even have fun. But when you spend 12 hours working around people doing the same BS you find ways to make it tolerable.

    If you go on an interview ask Greg why Boomerang Marketing had to change they're name. I started out with Greg in '04 when he was an AE, he was great with sales, but there is plenty good reason why his companies keep ending up on the [redacted]. Dude is shady. And no he didn't work for an industry leader, if my memory serves me right he worked inside sales selling steel.

    Wolvesfan, you keep drinkin the JUICE brother! Believe me, with a degree in graphic design you can make more money and finding a better job isn't that hard. Fact, a $30k job is NOT hard to find. And no, you don't have to work more than 10 hours a day.

    To others looking for a job, good luck, it's never fun, but keep doing your research and you might not waste several months of your life!

  • As
      16th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    I, too, was an recent graduate eager to find a fun and exciting career. The job described seemed like a lot of fun. Unfortunately what a mess. The company lures you in and makes the job seem very lucrative. I went to my first interview where I asked questions about whether or not they were door to door and if they disturbed people at their place of work and whether or not it was salary or commission. That should have been the first tip. She refused to discuss any sort of compensation with me in the first meeting and assured me that they weren't those people who barge in on businesses. What horrible surprise when I showed up for my second interview and they drive you offsite with "your interviewer" and basically trap you into spending your whole day following their sales rep around going business to business selling spa packages (that was what they were selling on my day out). It was awful I couldn't get away. I went to school for business, to be a part of a business, not disturb others while they are trying to work. I understand the approach but they lie to people to get them to believe they can get into management. I was so upset that I took a day off of my current job to look into this. Save yourself the time and effort don't do it. And for the record to the person saying that a 30k job is looking at 50-60 hours a week if you find a job that pays you $15 an hour you can work 40 hours a week and make 30k. So a little math may have helped in your venture to prove a point. I'm pretty sure with a 4 year degree or even an AA someone is willing to pay you $15 an hour and maybe even give you the option of benefits.

  • Al
      23rd of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    Thanks for the info everyone. Funny thing... I just got off the phone with the HR people at SMI in Lombard, IL (Sport Marketing International) setting up an appointment. I then got a confirmation email from them... did some online research... and quickly found this page and a handful of others saying pretty much the same things. I then responded to the HR persons email telling them that I will not be showing up... and made sure to include all the links that I found online... showing them why I was cancelling. The nerve of them to take advantage of respectable people. If you notice, SMI marks all their job listings as "Entry Level Sales/Marketing", etc..., clearly targeting young and naive people. What a disappointment.

  • Pr
      25th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    To the guy who is comparing Walmart complaints. Try simple math as you do it so well with salaries. Walmart employs well over a million people world wide. SMI employs hundreds. Do the ratio and you may find that comment a little backwards. My guess is that you will find over all the percentage of people who complain about SMI is higher than the percentage that complain at walmart.

  • Pr
      25th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    My son worked for them for 3 days and it was so painful for me to watch him go to work. As a mom, your kids have to do what they have to to learn life lessons and this one was a life lesson for him. Thank goodness it only lasted 3 days!!

  • Kw
      30th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    Nothing is funnier than reading people's comments that are basing their comments off someone else's internet comments whom they've never met. I started in that office and now I run an office. I have no financial issues despite the economy. I learned everything from sales to management from the team there. Oh yeah, I just purchased a new house and am getting my fiance the engagement ring of her dreams due to my success at Sports Marketing International. But hey, haters hate, that's all they know how to do. I just laugh at these comments and I realize how truly tough it is to be great when you are surrounded by mediocre minds of the mob trying to keep everyone else "average". So listen to the internet posters, go get a job on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder and HOPE to God that that company is ethical, sticks around for 40 years, and doesn't ever lay anyone off or go do something for yourself, learn real skills, and get rewarded with running an office and making your own destiny and desicions...Obama said it best when he said the biggest problem nowadays is that people don't dream big enough. If you want to work for a big corporate culture and get 40 hours a week and a small benefits package, you are right, don't go to Sports Marketing Int'l. If you want to move up based on performance and forge your own career like I did and you are willing to work hard at something (which is no different than anything you've done in life like sports or band or getting good grades) then go interview and give it shot. Don't listen to some guy's rants that is now a busboy at Buffalo Wild Wings...

  • Me
      1st of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    I currently work at SMI and been there for 5 months, hey its hard just like any other job, but the benefits are great. In just a couple months I will be running my own business, and retire before Im 35. The only thing I regret is I wish I could of started younger. So stay away from this company if you are: IGNORANT, LAZY, DEPRESSING, AND JUST PLAIN UNMOTIVATED. Most of the people who write these comments are overweight and old. This is as far as I go and let you feeble minded ### form your own opinion if your capable. Keep up the good work SMI!

  • Sc
      3rd of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    Meyers T.,

    I'm curious... So you are currently working at SMI, but you are living in Miami, Florida? How's that commute working out for you?

    I'm making these postings to protect young people from getting taken advantage of, with no gain of my own. For the record, I'm a highly motivated, upbeat, early-twenties post-graduate student.

    I'm not sure who you are, but if I had a guess, you and anyone else defending SMI on these posts is likely one of the scammers that owns one of these unethical sweatshops and is taking advantage of ambitious, young students or graduates. You are just trying to cover your butt to save the company.

    SMI promises their applicants the world, and tell them that it's only their own failures that are keeping them in the way of success. Of course it's true that hard work and motivation will get you far, and certainly those working under area managers (like Greg in Lombard) are working their butts off. But, let's be honest, here. They're not going to be raking in the dough until they leave SMI and their door-to-door sales and go for a real career.

    The primary difference between Sports Marketing International, SMI, SMI and Associates or whatever they want to call themselves and a legitimate career environment is this: When you work for a legitimate company or organization, they INVEST in YOU. This is the core failure in my mind of SMI. When you are working for a company that values you as an employee, they want to keep you around for awhile. They make you feel like you are such a vital part of their company that they will give you things like 401k opportunities, health insurance, mileage reimbursement, continuing education reimbursement.

    When companies don't classify you as an employee, but rather as an independent contractor, the obligation to provide such benefits is not longer necessary. This is how SMI operates. I currently work as a marketing independent contractor, and know that there are strict classifications that will determine whether or not a company can legally classify you as an independent contractor rather than an employee. One such stipulation, is that as an independent contractor, the company you are working for CANNOT specify what hours or days you must work. This is one of the many violations...

  • Fo
      3rd of Feb, 2009
    +2 Votes

    TO THE PEOPLE DEFENDING THIS COMPANY AND WHO ARE DISMISSING THE COUNTLESS CLAIMS OF PEOPLE ON HERE: I was a former "employee" for SMI, at the time was Boomerang marketing group (they changed their name for legal reasons). I worked there for over 4 months and was promoted to an account manager. I worked with Greg Mertes and saw the tactics he used first hand. You start out the day in "atmosphere" which is where they play music and you practice your pitch. This is called brainwashing, and is a psychological tactic used to boost your attitude. You sell coupon packages door to door. You are told to be deceitful to customers using REHASH and other tactics. You are encouraged to pitch in non-solicitation buildings and government facilities. No, Greg does not have a solicitation license and the "employees" dont get one either, Nobody contacts any chambers or bureaus to notify them ahead of time about solicitations to businesses...this is downright illegal! And yes you can get fined for it...and yes YOU are held accountable, not the manager of the office. You are assigned a territory for the day, and are told to pitch everyone! And at the end of the day everyone huddles around and either rings a bell or hits a gong to celebrate how sucessful they were that day. Again this is a psychological tactic used to influence the new people and interviwees that day.

    They do not do a background check on people. I worked with a guy that had just gotten out of the state prison!! Greg uses profound profanity and has slandered his employees numerous times, even insulting someone in front of the entire office...not proper management tactics at all! And the company has no clue about marketing as they are in a cold market and have saturated it too much (just ask how many repeat custiomers they have) and Smart Circle sells these coupon books on their website at the same price, so you dont have to buy from these reps, how stupid!

    I encourage all of you entreprenuers on here who are thinking about working for any of these Smart Circle companies to do research, and find enjoyment starting your own company and not a scam one like this!!

    And for people who were hurt by any one of these companies, write to your local representatives. I do know of local and state legal action in Illinois that is in the process of being taken as we speak!!

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