At the end of the #withoutshoes social media campaign, 296,243 pairs of shoes had been donated around the world. Toms has already given away 35 million pairs of shoes since the company started.
We talked to Sarah Tabbush , TOMS Director of Digital Marketing, to tell us more about the campaign and the mission of TOMS.
What made you think of this campaign?
One Day Without Shoes has been an annual event where we raise awareness for children’s health and education. This year we wanted to make a big impact and raise awareness at an even larger scale. It was important to us that people from around the world be able to participate and give shoes – no purchase necessary.
How many ‘free shoe’ campaigns does Toms do throughout the year?
We have always been a One for One company. You buy a pair of shoes and we give a pair of shoes. This is the first time that we have ever tried something like this.
Is this specific campaign an annual one?
First time! We have been celebrating One Day Without Shoes since a group of passionate college students at Pepperdine University created the campaign in the late 2000’s. It started in Southern California and now has grown to a global celebration. We love that our community is a movement. Check out our Instagram from our friends celebrating all around the world.
Did it meet your expectations? Did it exceed your expectations?
At the beginning we weren’t sure what the response would be since we have not ran a campaign like this before and we couldn’t be more thrilled and humbled with the outcome. Our TOMS tribe is filled with incredible people pushing our movement forward and we could not achieve this without them.
How does Toms pick who they give the shoes to? What regions of the world? Do they have to meet a certain criteria as far as poverty? Do you ever give shoes away in the U.S.?
Yes we give in the US! Here’s an overview of where we give. http://www.toms.com/where-we-give We partner with NGOs to help fulfill our One for One promise. More info on those partnerships here: http://www.toms.com/thoughtful-partners
What are the benefits of everyone having, and wearing shoes?
A pair of shoes is so much more than a fashion statement. From meeting school uniform requirements to protecting from soil-borne illnesses, shoes impact kids lives in a big way. It also encourages kids to attend school regularly and boosts their confidence.
On Toms’ website, I saw some things about school uniforms. Is that something that Toms feels strongly about as well? Have you done any campaigns for that?
Shoes can increase a child’s access to education by providing them with the proper footwear required for a school uniform The shoes play a part in a larger act to decrease the chances of children dropping out of school.
Which social media platform seems to work best for campaigns like these? Twitter, Instagram, Facebook? Do you run these campaigns on all platforms? How do you chose which platform to use?
Social media is part of our DNA. When Blake started the company, he didn’t have money for traditional marketing, so he got the word out through social media. Instagram seemed like a perfect fit for this campaign because of the visual nature of the platform and simplicity of the ask. We have utilized all of our social platforms to amplify this campaign.
How do you pick the hashtags you chose for these campaigns?
One Day Without Shoes is not about TOMS – it is about raising awareness for children’s health and education and we wanted the hashtag to reflect that – #withoutshoes
Do you have plans for more campaigns in the future?
One Day Without Shoes isn’t so much a campaign for us. Everyday at TOMS is about raising awareness for the issues we help support through our products. This is simply a day where we ask the world to walk barefoot with us, and celebrate how a simple act of posting a photo to raise awareness can make a difference in the world. I hope we continue to find creative ways to do this every single day.
Today is the last day and the number is continuing to grow, will the campaign end today at midnight?
We will end the campaign when May 21st officially ends for the entire globe.
I saw in the fine print, ‘*Up to 1 million,’ how did you come up with this number?
I wish we had no limits, of course! But as a business it’s important to define this.
WBOC joined the cause. Here are a couple of the Instagram posts we put up!