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