… Should TOMS use poor children to sell TOMS shoes?

Okay everybody. So here’s my quandary:

TOMS brand of shoes has built a global ‘shoe-selling’ company on the promise that for every pair of sandals sold a poor child gets a pair of sandals too.

Their slogan is: One for One. It’s a great promise and a nice thought. But is it ethical?

I mean, when we used to pay super models hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote shoes, surely paying a poor starving child a pair of sandals to do the same job is questionable at least.

TOMS is a shoe brand that makes profits…no question about it.


TOMS are also doing good for the world. Through your purchases, TOMS helps provide shoes, sight, water, safe birth and bullying prevention services to people in need.

I guess I’m just wondering if I am doing good by buying a pair of TOMS? Or, have I just fallen for a smart marketing idea that exploits children to reduce costs, position their organisation as ethical, and walk the owners all the way to the bank?

What do you think? Ethical business, smart marketing, or are they one in the same these days?