Another story we sat on for a few days doing some extra digging.
First the facts: Middle of last week, Skechers settled with the FTC, agreeing to pay $40 million so it wouldn’t have to go through the public embarrassment of trying to prove its bogus claims over the past couple of years that its “Shape-up” sneakers help you lose weight, grow muscles, reverse baldness and eliminate world hunger.
Lairig Marketing wanted to know: What professional advertising/marketing agency would sink low enough to be a part of such behavior? To sit there during customer research reviews and creative briefings, and not say “This is bullsh&t.”
No way any agency would do this.
We were right. It took us a while to determine that Skechers did this work on its own.
It puts this interview excerpt from Ad Age last year with then-CMO Leonard Armato into a new perspective:
Ad Age: Skechers has yet to hire a formal agency of record. Why…?
Mr. Armato: “…because we are intimately familiar with the Skechers brand and all the unique value propositions associated with products that we develop.”
We now know that “intimately familiar” and “unique value propositions” are synonyms for “hoodwinking.”
But give Armato credit. Consumers bought Skecher’s Shape-ups and Tone-ups by the closet-load, nearly a billion dollars, proving once again our theory that most consumers will believe anything.
Two interesting post-scripts. First, Armato left just two weeks before the Skechers sh*t hit the FTC’s fan, to become the chairman of a sports marketing agency. Pretty sneakery.
Second, for whatever reason, Skechers decided to work with a real, external ad agency for its 2012 Super Bowl spot featuring its six-month-old GOrun shoe. Coincidentally or not, this year’s ad was voted third best, beating last year’s in-house Kim Kardisaster spot by 45 places.
Skecher’s GoRUN agency, Los Angeles-based Siltanen & Partners, is “blue chip” all the way.