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TOMS One Day #WithoutShoes

ericshainock's picture

On May 10, 2016, TOMS is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. To celebrate, Blake Mycoskie, TOMS founder, wants to give away 100,000 pairs of shoes to children in 10 countries. Each year, TOMS spends one day #withoutshoes to raise awareness for children's health and education. This campaign has been active for the past few years, and has made a difference in countries across the world. It is native and authentic to who TOMS is as a company. As a reference, Blake Mycoskie's Twitter bio reads: Chief Shoe Giver and Founder of TOMS. One for One. This demonstrates his belief in giving back to these children through TOMS.

The campaign is simple:

1. Kick off your shoes and take a picture of your feet #withoutshoes
2. Post it to Instagram and tag your photo #withoutshoes
3. Tag friends to join a movement and help TOMS inch closer to their goal.

Similar to Make-A-Wish and its Disney #ShareYourEars movement and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the campaign follows a proven model of success.

First, the campaign is personal. TOMS has built a following of loyal customers across the globe and has credible adopters to help spearhead it. This social issue is one that many can get behind and understand quickly.

Second, it is social. Users post it to Instagram, which in nature is a social site. As a result, friends can be tagged and the snowball effect begins. By using Instagram as the primary social avenue, unique pictures from across the globe will appear, which taps into the beauty of Instagram.

Third, there are low barriers to entry. All someone needs is an Instagram account and his or her feet. The time spent on this is less than 5 minutes, yet the impact is much larger: a donated pair of shoes to a child in another country. By making it so simple, consumers across the globe can make a difference without a huge time commitment and TOMS can continue to push its global mission in a positive manner.

To frame this in a sports perspective, a team or league can approach a partner brand to create a social campaign similar to this. It works so well because this is authentic and ingrained within the TOMS culture - there is a history of the success in both a business setting as well as a community one. For example, a team that has its pouring rights with Coca-Cola could work on a campaign to donate bottles of water to a developing country with a scarce water supply. Consumers can participate across the world and make a difference simply by sharing a social post. This is the best way to tap into a global community and streamline a campaign to make the biggest impact.

Eric Shainock works for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as an Account Representative in the Strategic Partnerships division after previously working at Intersport, a sports marketing agency. He is a 2014 graduate of the Ohio University Sports Administration Graduate Program. Feel free to reach out via email: or on Twitter: @ericshainock.

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