Toms steps up #WithoutShoes campaign for a #SocialWin

By: Alexandria Schell

For nine consecutive years, Toms has found ways to give shoes to children in need around the globe. The popular philanthropic shoe company is known for its, “One for One” mission. Whenever a customer purchases a pair of Toms shoes, the company then gives a pair of Toms to a child in need of shoes. In 2015, Tom’s stepped up their game and brought philanthropic ease to a new level.

The #WithoutShoes campaign asked Instagram users to take a picture of their bare feet, using the hashtag #WithoutShoes between May 5 and May 21. For every picture of naked piggies with the tag, Toms pledged to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. This campaign is different from any other. No money was required to participate and help children around the world.

The goal, set forth by Toms, was to increase awareness of children’s health and education and show how much a pair of shoes can improve a child’s quality of life. This was perfect timing as 2015 marked the year of feet. Taking pictures of feet was a huge trend and Toms fed off of it.

Toms created a successful campaign and ultimately clutched the  #SocialWin. The number of pairs of shoes donated by Toms alone is enough to classify this campaign as a total success. 296,243 children around the world now own shoes. These children have more opportunities in life thanks to Toms and the audience who posted pictures on Instagram. Not only did this campaign help children in need, but it created a community of 338, 280 people who felt like they had done their part in making the world a better place. No purchase was necessary for audience members to engage.  Being a Toms customer wasn’t even a requirement. A smart phone and a pair of exposed paws is all it took to feel a sense of accomplishment. This is something  rare and difficult to accomplish without physical labor, or a donation of money,  yet Toms did it.

It’s incredibly difficult to criticize this campaign. The instructions to participate in this campaign were simple. Participants did not have to donate monetarily. At most, participants donated a few seconds of their time in taking a picture and uploading it.  At the time, the trend of naked feet was at its peak, so timing could not have been better. Everything aligned perfectly.

Even though over 200,000 pairs of shoes were donated to children in need, this number could have been higher. The entire campaign only lasted two weeks. This isn’t enough time for the early majority and some of the late majority to participate. Extending the length of the campaign or publishing the press release earlier would’ve solved this problem. All of the news articles published regarding the launch of this campaign were dated, at the earliest, May 1, 2015. This is just four short days from the launch of the campaign. If the press release was published earlier, there would’ve been more participants. Early adopters would’ve seen the press release and immediately started posting. This would’ve allowed for more time for the early majority and some of the late majority to join in on the action. With only two weeks to participate, many who do not go on social media often may have missed it altogether.

Couch, Robbie. “Instagram Users Went #WithoutShoes This Month And Gave 265,000 Pairs To Kids In Need.” Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 21 May 2015. Web. 4 Feb. 2016. <;.

Moore, Booth. “Toms Launches #withoutshoes Giving Campaign.” LA Times. LA Times, 5 May 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <;.

Rayman, Noah. “A Photo of Your Feet Can Give a Pair of Shoes to a Child in Need.” Time. Time, 5 May 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.

“TOMS Kicks Off Its Eighth Annual One Day Without Shoes Campaign.” PR Newswire. N.p., 5 May 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <;.

Wander, Erik. “Here’s a Month-by-Month Look at the Most Engaging Brand Content of 2015.” Ad Week. N.p., 30 Dec. 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.      <;.


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