30 April 2012

TOMS and Sketchers' BOBS

I was perusing YouTube this afternoon when a pre-roll ad started with a little girl talking about shoes. They look like TOMS, they sound like TOMS, they are branded like TOMS, they are styled like TOMS but they aren't TOMS... they're Sketchers BOBS range.

The designs are identical - I couldn't see one difference down to the cut of the fabric over the top of the shoe, the gathering and folding of fabric at the the toes and the brands tag on the side, even the colour selection. Although BOBS are cheaper, they don't look anywhere near the high quality which TOMS are, nor do they have the positive and emotional story behind them. The names sound identical but to me the big difference is the companies branding - there is a story to how TOMS came about from personal experience the founder had meeting children who couldn't afford shoes, whereas BOBS seem like they've come from an exec meeting where they've looked at successful shoe companies and copied them - stitch for stitch, one for one.

I'm so surprised that a company as big as Sketchers has replicated the TOMS shoe designs and ethos "one-for-one". TOMS have always promoted the fact that they would love other companies to do "one-for-one" campaigns that give product back to children and adults in need but to copy the shoe designs, branding and everything surrounding this is a step too far to me.

What do you think about the similarities between these two products? Do you think Sketchers has taken this too far? Let me know in the comments below! I know I'll be sticking with my old favorites - TOMS!

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