Barefoot? Not with TOMS Shoes!


Many of us are familiar with the shoe brand TOMS. The company, started by Blake Mycoskie, commits itself to donating one pair of shoes to a child living in poor conditions for every pair of shoes it sells. TOMS’s program of giving was the result of its owner traveling to South America and finding that many children were contracting diseases through their bare feet, as they were unable to afford or obtain shoes. Mycoskie decided to manufacture his company’s shoes in an eco-friendly and vegan manner. TOMS are made using supplies from an organization, Livity, specializing in “low environment impact materials” (information based on a 2008 interview between Mycoskie and San Diego Loves Green reporter Allie Bullock Kagamaster).

Not only does TOMS market their product as a philanthropic exercise, but it also markets itself as an organization dedicated to environmentally sound products. The company is able to create establish integrity for its product among potential customers who are concerned with social and environmental issues. Partnering social and environmental values, allows TOMS products to stand out amongst competitors.

TOMS has gone a step further than its usual shoe donation program; by implements its “One Day Without Shoes” campaign. This campaign is meant to raise awareness of the dangers faced by individuals who do not have shoes to walk in, in areas where environmental conditions, such as chemical contamination and littering of glass, syringes and debris, can cause multiple diseases. “One Day Without Shoes” also encourages individuals to buy shoes from the company so that TOMS can donate shoes to these individuals.

The “One Day Without Shoes” campaign is designed in a way that the company’s customers and followers can actively participate in it. When going to the company’s website, a person can email the page to their friends and family, post it on Facebook, or follow the campaign on Twitter. This implementation of social media shows that TOMS Shoes is aware of the powerful impact individuals can have when marketing a message, just by sharing information with friends on social media they are already using, and that can be viewed by mass numbers of friends and peers.

Also on the campaign’s website, TOMS Shoes encourages individuals to share videos and photos of themselves without shoes and an explanation of what the experience meant to them. Followers can find their own marketing devices to spread the word of the campaign on the website. Rally signs, street stencils, pocket info cards, stickers, profile pins and banners, DIY t-shirts, and displays can be downloaded from the campaign’s website for the event.

“One Day Without Shoes” has also found many corporate partners to participate in its campaign. These partners are Aol., Discovery, essie, flickr, just wink by American Greetings, Kiehl’s, Kind Healthy Snacks, and SIMS. The “One Day Without Shoes” campaign shows the ways in which organizations rely on various societal values and corporate marketing techniques to draw attention to their brand or promotion.

-Ashley Oliver,Hunter Wilson, Josh Vester, Molly Jacques

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10 thoughts on “Barefoot? Not with TOMS Shoes!

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post because even though I am familar with the TOMS brand, I was not aware of all that went into the “One Day Without Shoes” campaign. I am an owner of TOMS shoes and I wear them about everyday. I felt really good about buying them because I felt like I was contributing to a bigger cause. This post caught my eye because just last week I was walking around campus and I kept seeing people walk barefoot and was confused. Then it dawned on me that it was “One Day Without Shoes”. I think that this campaign has been very effective because I have seen a large amount of social media that has been promoting this. Not only does this make people aware of this issue in other countries, it actually allows for the individual to get a first hand experience of the issue.

    Hillary Linn

  2. I think what Blake Mycoskie is doing is great. He’s environmentally conscious, and really seems to have a good head on his shoulders. I really like what TOMS stand for, and although I think that they’re a bit pricey, I think that the investment is worth it.

  3. Great blog post! Before I read this, I thought I knew all there was about TOMS; environmentally friendly, helps kids with no shoes, many different styles, popular, hip shoes. I realize i never put much thought into exactly how shoes impact my life. Of course if I don’t wear shoes, I know I could step on glass, get a splinter, etc., but I never thought about what would happen if a cut (or multiple cuts) got infected. But wait… some of these kids without shoes live in areas without good sanitation, which creates even more problems when walking around barefoot. I really appreciate my shoes now and the awareness I have now.
    In my IMC I class we just finished Everything but the Coffee. In the book, Bryant Simon talks about how buying coffee/water from Starbucks that gives some of its profit back to farmers and schools in third world countries provides more incentive to buy those particular items. This is definitely true for TOMS; I believe anyone who reads this post would feel a desire to go purchase TOMS in the near future.

  4. TOMS is an example of a brand that is aligned. It’s mission statement matches every product and operation it is involved with. TOMS is clearly concerned with social and environmental issues and it shows by its philanthropy and also by the make-up of it’s product. The brand alignment of TOMS certainly keeps many loyal, happy customers and supporters.

  5. I’m the proud owner of many pairs of TOMS! I started wearing them when I found out about their campaign for children without shoes. (And I kept wearing them when I found out how comfortable they are!) I really appreciate this post because, even just based on the comments above, not everyone knows all of what TOMS does to support, well, the world. It’s important to get the word out to people about organizations like this. You’re already buying the trendy shoes, why not buy this type and give a pair to someone who truly needs them? Great post!

  6. I really enjoyed reading this Blog about “One Day Without Shoes.” TOMS has done a great job marketing themselves philanthropically and I assumed that they were environmentally friendly due to the make of their shoes. However, I didn’t know how much effort TOMS has put into their brand nor was I informed about the specific campaigns that they are using to promote what they are doing.

  7. Tom’s shoes is a company that is founded by a passionate philanthropist and is rooted in the cause, rather than the other way around. Many companies begin with a product and then try to tie in a relevant cause. Because Tom’s shoes began as a cause and developed into a product and brand, they have been incredibly successful. As long as they stick to their cause and their roots, they will be a successful company for years to come.

  8. I think what Tom’s is doing is pure genius. Not only are they creating capitol by selling the shoes that they sell, but they are also helping the less fortunate out AND building a great brand name for their company. Instead of being thought of as just another shoe produced, Tom’s is now thought of by many as a caring company. With this image, many people will take their business to Tom’s instead of say Nike, where they have sweatshops to make their products and no positive repercussions of your purchase for anyone but yourself. I think it is great that the day without shoes campaign has gotten so big and alerted so many people of such a serious problem. At the same time, I can see how it is great for the company and its brand name to continue to sell shoes and profit, while being charitable at the same time.

  9. TOMS shoes has effectively married a profitable business and social awareness. This success is so evident that there are hundreds of brands emerging in hopes of tasting some of the same success TOMS has. This campaign is as good as it gets because it drives traffic to their website and creates an army of loyal TOMS followers while bringing awareness and doing something tangible to help those in need. TOMS business is so effective because of how it started. Consumers can sense whether or not a company is genuine in their mission to help others and by all indications, consumers like what they are sensing from TOMS.

  10. TOMS found their competitive strategy to make money. I’m not too entirely sure how good the quality of shoe is they send to those children in Africa. It is easy to say they are sending shoes over there but if they aren’t high quality then it’s not really benefiting them for a reasonable time like our shoes do. I would think that their shoes over there would have to be higher durability than ours because they are outside more and have a more rigorous lifestyle due to the undeveloped environment they live in. But if that was the case TOMS wouldn’t be making any profit if their shoes were better than ours. So this leads me to believe that he took this approach to target a market of people who want to help the world, but by something that is fashionable and eco-friendly. It’s ego gratifying to say you help the world by buying a product. But what is ironic is that certain individuals would probably buy that product even if it wasn’t helping the world. TOMS tapped into a target market that cares about the world but also wants to spend money on shoes that are fashionable. Getting rich while making people feel good about themselves for helping the world: the perfect marketing strategy.

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