Earlier today, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Skechers paid a $40 million settlement for its deceptive advertising for Shape-ups, Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups.According to the FTC, Skechers exaggerated claims regarding the shoes’ effectiveness, specifically the ability to tone your body and lose weight. This is not exactly groundbreaking: Reebok shelled out $25 million for falsely advertising that its shoes guaranteed “a better butt with every step.”
For the past three years, Skechers used celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Brooke Burke, and Wayne Gretzky to promote a product the government determined doesn’t really work.
Consumers are encouraged to request a refund as part of the settlement.
Burke promotes Shape-ups to mothers who have busy lifestyles and may not have time for the gym.
One problem. Brooke says, 'Shape-ups really work.' The FTC says, 'shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.'
The FTC was particularly perturbed by Skechers' claim that tying your shoes was the only thing needed for weight loss.
The biggest difference between Reebok's questionable evidence and Skechers' evidence is that Skechers' came from the husband of a company executive.
According to the FTC, nowhere in Dr. Steven Gautreau's study did he disclose that he was married to a Skechers exec or that the company paid him.
In addition, the FTC claims Skechers 'cherry-picked' the study to further bolster the company's claims.
Skechers promoted Resistance Runners by saying that running on pavement was akin to 'running barefoot in the sand' by using the same technology found in Shape-ups.
The FTC had doubts about Sketchers ability to turn pavement into sand.
According a press release, the FTC was not pleased that Skechers used celebrities including Kim Kardashian in ads that made false claims about the shoes.
'Airing during the 2011 Super Bowl, the Kardashian ad showed her dumping her personal trainer for a pair of Shape-ups.' The expensive ad featuring an already toned celebrity spread false claims to millions.
Skechers marketed Tone-ups as a product that would increase the amount of energy required for your workout leading to better results, as opposed to Shape-ups which provided extra burn through your everday actions, like walking.
The FTC couldn't see the difference because neither worked; they were all 'deceptive claims.'
This 2010 ad featured model/actress Breana McDow, who is best known for her role in the Arctic Monkey's 'Suck It And See' music video. Court documents stated that 'to induce consumers to purchase its footwear... advertisements frequently display men and women who are already well-toned.' These attractive women distracted from the ugly shoes.
Wayne Gretzky was the last celebrity to promote the Shape-ups brand.
Hockey's most recognisable athlete seemed about as sceptical as the FTC did in regards to the 'comeback shoe.'
While the Kings might be back in the running for the Stanley Cup, the #99 is still retired.
Skechers wanted kids to get in on the action, too.
A year ago, Skechers rolled out Shape-ups for Girls; it did not go over very well. Parents were concerned about the message the company was sending to young girls regarding body image, and health advocates were outraged that the company would promote less activity among children.
Skechers pulled the campaign and removed the ads from its YouTube channel.
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