Monday, August 15

Bob's from Skechers

I was sitting at home yesterday watching a little bit of television when a commercial came on that made my jaw drop.  Bob's by Skechers.  This new line of shoes isn't new, it actually caused a little fury last Fall when it first came out but I haven't personally seen it since.

The concept behind Bob's?  For every pair of Bob's shoes you buy, a pair also goes to a child in need.  HOLD THE PHONE .... sounds awfully familiar to me. Ever heard of the innovative brand called Tom's?  That brand was doing this exact same thing first.  Giving back is the core of the Tom's brand.

So what's going on?  I'm not a fan when brands copy each other.  Even wrote about it recently in a blog post about Apple stores in China and there's been some reports about the same thing happening with IKEA.  But is it different when it comes to charity?

There's often not a lot that a brand can do about it, but as a marketer I do find it frustrating.  We work and work to create a unique positioning and offering for our consumers, only to have someone come along and copy it at a fraction of the effort.  Just doesn't seem right to me.

Now I never want to trash a brand for giving back, and it's very admirable what Skechers is doing.  And at least this time around the brand does say that it's "joining" organizations like Tom's to give back.  Credit is due there.  But I just wish that they had decided to do something unique to the world and unique to the brand.  Tom's made their brand all about their cause, and in fact now they have just introduced sunglasses under the same premise.

What do you think?  Was this ok?  What's your experience?  Jim

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect


  1. It is always important to give back and consider the greater good - not just in business but in life as well.

    I read this post and put on my "PR hat" to assess Bob's value in generating earned media. If a client came to me with this idea or if it was presented in an agency brainstorm, I would push back reasoning that it wouldn't get much coverage because it's been done already. Plus it also opens itself to brand confusion and runs the risk of driving the target to the competition. Even with charity you need to "own" it. That means taking a distinct creative approach in order to distinguish yourself in the space.

  2. This is so blatant that I can't imagine Sketchers would get the same cause related benefit as Tom's.

  3. Couldn't they think of another way to give back? It is so blatant. Tom's worked so hard to build themselves a niche, and then....

    On the positive side, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Tom's should feel pretty flattered. :-)