Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 14, 2012 11:01 AM
Skechers recently got itself into hot water when it had to shell out $40 million to settle a suit brought against it by the Federal Trade Commission to settle false advertising charges that its “toning sneakers” could make consumers look and actually be healthier without having them change their behavior in any other way.
Now the shoe brand is looking to build back some of the good feeling it torpedoed with that incident.
The company just announced that it has “donated its first million pair of kids’ shoes through its BOBS from SKECHERS program, which gives a new pair to a child in need for every BOBS footwear purchase.” Those shoes will be finding the feet of kids in the U.S., Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
The BOBS sub-brand, which already mimics philanthropic brand TOMS in name, logo and shoe design, is clearly taking a cue from TOMS' "One For One" mission, which donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased.
That clearly doesn't bother celebrity ambassador Brooke Burke-Charvet, the co-host of Dancing With the Stars, who trades her Skecher Shape-ups "toning shoes" for BOBS for the photo opp.
The Skechers philanthropic program, by the way, launched a year ago but was limited to sales of women’s shoes. This year's BOBS giveaway has expanded to include kid’s and men’s footwear.
TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie has encouraged other brands to try his "One for One" model, but never anticipated the wholesale rip-off of his idea by a bigger brand. According to a TOMS blog post he is well aware of Skechers' knock-off philanthro-branding and confusion in the marketplace, but as far as we know has never taken legal action.