By Reagan Canaday

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 7.46.48 PM

In May of 2015, TOMS launched their eighth annual “One Day Without Shoes” campaign. The company as a whole has a goal to “shoe the shoeless”. In order to make steps toward achieving their goal, TOMS wanted to create a global event that would bring awareness through advocacy to the millions of children around the world who do not have access to shoes (Couch). According to the TOMS website, “giving shoes to those children goes further than simply providing comfort — it can increase access to education, treat debilitating diseases that affect the feet and legs and help curb water and soil-borne illnesses” (TOMS).

The company is able to fund this project by developing a business model where they invest their money in donating free samples rather than paying for ad campaigns, celebrity spokespeople, and branded shops (Della Cava). Because the company does not invest much money in forms of advertisement, they began to relay heavily on social media and the “One Day Without Shoes” campaign was born. TOMS also pairs with a nonprofit organization each year, such as Soles 4 Souls, to educate people on health conditions of the children who will be receiving the donated shoes. will  Last year, the campaign asked people around the world to upload a photo of their bare feet to Instagram while including the hash tag #WithoutShoes in the caption. The campaign ran from May 5th-May 21st. Originally, the campaign ran for 24 hours, but last year, TOMS decided to extend the timeframe in order to build awareness and allow as many people to participate as possible (Hoffman). Within the 17 days, 296,243 photos were posted to the social media platform resulting in 296,243 needy children receiving new shoes (TOMS). The founder of TOMS, Brian Mycoskie stated, “to scale something like this in order to help more people is an incredible opportunity, and one that couldn’t have happened just a few years ago. Social media is what makes Toms possible. Spreading the word between people who care is so easy now” (Della Cava).

Our class #ou4530j, would consider the “One Day Without Shoes” campaign would be classified as a #SocialWin. Hundreds of thousands of people responded to the request of the campaign and posted photos of their bare feet to Instagram creating global awareness and communication. The campaign offered incentive for people to participate by creating a sense of accomplishment since each photo would result in donating a new pair of shoes. Every person who participated was making a difference in a child’s life. All over the world, people could track the number of bare footed photos through the hash tag #WithoutShoes. Overall, TOMS has donated over 38 million pairs of their shoes throughout 65 countries, and there is no sign of them slowing down (TOMS). TOMS is a great example that it’s possible to make a difference in the world through the combination of a well defined goal and the power of social media.

Look out for this year’s “One Day Without Shoes” campaign, and consider participating in order to help TOMS achieve their goal to provide all children with a pair of shoes! If you are interested in more ways to how to help TOMS reach their goal, visit their blog for more information.

References:

Couch, Robbie. (2015, October 27). Instagram Users Went #WithoutShoes This Month And Gave 265,000 Pairs To Kids In Need. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/21/toms-shoes-without-shoes-_n_7360312.html

Della Cava, Marco. (2015, May 5). Toms Uses Instagram to give away a million shoes.Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/05/04/toms-using-instagram-to-try-and-give-away-a-million-shoes/26892739/

Hoffman, Ellen. (2015, May 5). Toms Will give free shoes to children if you Instagram your bare feet. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/toms-one-day-without-shoes-2015-5

PR Newswire. (2015, May 5). TOMS Kicks Off Its Eighth Annual One Day Without Shoes Campaign. Retrieved from: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/toms-kicks-off-its-eighth-annual-one-day-without-shoes-campaign-300077875.html

TOMS. (2015, May 21). One Day Without Shoes. Retrieved from:http://www.toms.com/one-day-without-shoes