For many companies, social media has become an innovative way to drive brand awareness. However, for TOMS, these interactive channels represent an opportunity to garner attention and increase engagement around social issues across the globe.Known for its buy-one/give-one policy, TOMS has always been socially conscious, for each shoe purchase allows the brand to donate one pair to children in need throughout the developing world. Founder Blake Mycoskie recently told USA TODAY that, because of traditionally high margins in the footwear industry, TOMS can effectively use the profits other brands would spend on ad campaigns, celebrity spokespeople, and branded shops, to donate free samples instead.
Thus, to celebrate its 9th anniversary and its annual 'One Day Without Shoes' campaign, TOMS encourages Instagram users--whether their customers or not--to post photos of their bare feet between May 5-21 using the #WithoutShoes hashtag. For each image, TOMS will donate one pair of shoes to needy children, up to one million shoes, with the help of UNICEF and Save the Children. "This isn't just about advocacy and giving based on your buying," Mycoskie added. "It's about real giving for giving's sake."
Just as shoes offer health and educational benefits within developing countries, social media allows TOMS to inform consumers about their cause and empower users to aid those without. TOMS has always stood by its mission to provide shoes for children in need, and this 'no purchase necessary' campaign supports its dedication to helping others, not themselves. #WithoutShoes exists outside the confines of brand promotion to include consumers no matter their footwear choices, encouraging users to see beyond the selfies and embrace the selfless.