Skechers 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.
Does this sound a lot like another brand, doing pretty much the same thing? TOMS shoes gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need with every pair a consumer purchases—"One for One"
Skechers appears to be counting on consumer brand confusion to sell its concept.
The BOBS brand mimics the TOMS brand in philanthropic mission, name, logo and shoe design. There appears to be no mistaking the blatant copycat nature of BOBS from TOMS.
TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie was extremely innovative in his company’s mission, and has encouraged other brands to try his model. He was promoting philanthropy more than he was selling shoes. But he may have never anticipated the wholesale rip-off of his idea by a bigger, more revenue-hungry, for-profit brand. While Mycoskie seems well aware of Skechers' knock-off and confusion in the marketplace, there have been no reports of legal action on TOMS part.
Skechers, for its part is no newbie to legal action—having just settled a $40 million suit brought against it by the Federal Trade Commission for false advertising charges that claimed its “toning sneakers” could make consumers look and be healthier without having them change their behavior in any other way.
I'm not a fan of knock-off brands. While BOBS shoes may be doing good things for children, Skechers is making money (by in-directly promoting their for-profit brands) with every shoe sale, and more importantly doing nothing to promote creativity and innovation in the marketplace. I'm not sure how blatantly mimicking others does much for a creative society.
Just call me a Skechers-skeptic and a mimic-critic.