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Newest Poster Child for Word-of-Mouth


Ben McConnell introduces us (or maybe just me) to the newest poster child business for Word-of-Mouth Marketing … TOMS Shoes.

TOMS Shoes is a Purple Cow business all the way. For every pair of shoes TOMS sells, they donate a pair to children in Argentina and Africa. Amazing story … learn more by reading Ben’s post.


  • Code Zero says:

    It’s true,customers who use products visibly are the best product marketeers, unfortunaly most used products aren’t so publicly present.A nice gesture to donate a pair for each pair sold..

  • Chris Wilson says:

    John,Thanks for helping spread the Tom’s story.I wrote about the company last year about this time. that I pointed out, and you duly noted is that the company is a “Purple Cow” and know this and have used it to their advantage. They haven’t given in to the pressures to conform to traditional business structures and procedures, and in time it has paid off for them.I’m glad to see that Toms is receiving more widespread recognition.

  • Nishad says:

    Just discovered Glue Jeans a purple cow in the making perhaps? Or they need a bigger cause, do you think?

  • BIG Kahuna says:

    hmmm, the cheaply made shoes are about $50 a pop. If sold at face value they’re probably not worth much more than $19.99 but and here’s the but…The cause. That has obviously added value (hence the $50 price). If there were no cause I wonder how this brand would be doing?Smart marketing or true do-gooder?

  • Scott … if TOMS was only about bringing alpargatas-style shoes to the masses, I wouldn’t have talked about it. I also wouldn’t have bought a pair.To me, it ain’t an either/or … its a great story.

  • BIG Kahuna says:

    Somehow I question the motives just based on the price. $50 is excessively high given the quality received.A true charity wouldn’t make those kinds of margins…I think. But I’m not in the charity business so it’s hard to know.Obviously many people feel good about it and the company is profiting from that tremendously. I would imagine these shoes cost a few dollars at most to make.I do like the brand identity and they are building great brand awareness in a very short time.

  • Scott … as a branding guy, you know “pricing tells a story.” Any high-priced product must deliver an interesting story. The TOMS story is interesting, so interesting people will gladly pay a higher price.

  • BIG Kahuna says:

    Agreed, people are initially buying the product because it makes them feel good about the cause. If you watch the video their own marketing person says the shoes are ugly but she bought them for the cause.Interesting to see how long this lasts. Is it sustainable or just a quick fad like uggs.Either way 200,000 pairs of shoes makes this guy a cool 8 Million (assuming shoes are $5 to make).Have you considered that the cause that makes you feel so good is really a $5 pair of shoes? Or is the story so compelling that you don’t really see the $5 donation?I’ve seen lots of these “cause” type programs put together and they ultimately make the company piles of cash when they work.Thanks for the interaction on this one, it’s an interesting story.

  • Paul says:

    So true. I heard about them through a friend, bought a pair and tell everybody that asks, as well as posting about them here last April