American Marketer


Nordstrom, Toms partner for “One Day Without Shoes”

April 4, 2011


nordstrom-shoes-185Nordstrom is promoting the “One Day Without Shoes” program by holding events at its department stores that build awareness and gain money for children in Third World countries who do not have shoes.

Foorwear maker Toms has pledged to donate one pair of shoes for every pair bought to Third World countries where there are millions of people without shoes. Nordstrom is helping by hosting this event at seven of its U.S. stores.

“This is a unique partnership in that it isn’t a call for consumers to just buy,” said Courtney Albert, consultant on marketing and branding for Parker Avery, Atlanta. “Instead, it is asking people, even those who might not be Nordstrom shoppers, to make an outward, social statement.

“Yes, people can buy shoes to support the event, but the One Day Without Shoes is a movement to enlighten people for more than one day, and the message will continue to click, especially the next time they happen to pass a display for Toms shoes,” she said.

The One Day Without Shoes program gives shoes to children in the United States, Africa, South America, Central America, the Middle East and Asia.

Ms. Albert is not affiliated with Toms or Nordstrom. She agreed to comment as a third-party source.

Perfect fit

One Day Without Shoes is being promoted in many channels.

Consumers can download an iPad, iPhone or Android application to learn more about the event, watch videos, see where the event will take place, share pictures, listen to music and buy merchandise.

There is a also a countdown to the event featured on the mobile app.

The official One Day Without Shoes video

Nordstrom is promoting the event via Facebook and Twitter and is asking consumers to upload pictures and share their commitment to the program on the feeds.

Consumers are also being encouraged to donate money and buy merchandise to go toward the charity.

Those who sign up on the event’s Web site could be chosen to go to a nearby community with Toms' founder, Blake Mycoskie, and distribute shoes to children in need.

Events are being held worldwide, including Nordstrom locations in Charlotte, NC; Brea, CA; Bellevue, WA; Frisco, TX; San Diego; Roseville, CA; and Seattle.

“Keeping with Toms' grassroots marketing, which has largely succeeded through word-of-mouth marketing, Nordstrom should align with this methodology, keeping the spirit of the movement and not trying to overshadow the true purpose,” Ms. Albert said.

“Also, by having promotions such as offering free shipping on shoes, encourages customers and gives a bit more incentive to buy a pair of Toms and support the drive - buying a pair of shoes to give a pair of shoes,” she said.

Going the extra mile
Many luxury brands are using charities to show their commitment to the less-fortunate.

As many of their customers participate in philanthropy and care about charity work, brands that host events, fundraisers or participate and donate to the less fortunate feel like they have more in common with their customers.

For instance, Nordstrom regularly hosts events such as its recent Nordstrom Fits America lingerie event dedicated to raise money for breast cancer (see story).

In addition, brands such as Cynthia Rowley, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Helmut Lang are taking their merchandise to the streets with a sample sale benefitting Japan victims with the Fashion Girls for Japan event in New York (see story).

“Asking consumers to forego wearing shoes might not sway its core base,” Ms. Albert said. “However, the underlying premise is to get people to reflect on the impact of wearing or not wearing a pair of shoes, in this case, and the impact it can have on ones daily routine.

“If a customer considers what that day would be like, especially after taking a look in his or her own closet, they could be moved to act,” she said. “Adding another pair to that collection could make the difference in a child’s education or health.”

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York