Friday, May 17

Sketchers Claim

My editor at Entrepreneur asked me if I'd like to write about the recent class-action lawsuit brought against Sketchers, and the recent $40million settlement.  I passed on it, because honestly I wasn't sure what I had to say about it.  I stumped myself, because rarely do I not have a point of view.

But then I really got to thinking about it.

While I don't know many details about the case, I realized that this is why there are regulations in place ... to protect the consumer and to protect the brand quite honestly.  We work in many regulated industries including healthcare, spirits, OTC products, etc.  All of them have their own sets of regulations that we must follow, or we potentially get ourselves in trouble.  Those regulations are there to protect us too!

Now claiming that a sneaker in and of itself can "help people lose weight, and strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs, and abdominal muscles" does seem a little out there.  That's a lot to put on a pair of shoes, and I would think you'd have to put a whole lot of sweat into it to get those results.  I remember seeing the advertising with Kim Kardashian and thinking, "oh, come on!"  But that was probably more about her than about the sneakers!

Either way, it's easy to get caught up in marketing and lose sight of what messaging you're putting out there.  The FTC, FDA, and all the other regulations keep us in check.  So at those times when we scratch our heads and try to make sense of them all, I'm going to remember Sketchers and be thankful for the guidance.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur

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