In a significant win for the Federal Trade Commission against body toning shoe brand Sketchers, the company has been ordered to pay $40 Million for deceptive advertising.
The sneaker brand which primarily targeted women who wanted to lose weight and get into better physical shape advertised that wearing their shoes would not only shape and slenderize women's bodies but also help them lose weight and improve cardiovascular conditioning BETTER than other brands of athletic shoes. They cited studies to back their claims which were debunked by the FTC.
The ads indicated women would get these results without "setting foot into a gym".
The company used celebrities to endorse their product including Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke, (from Dancing With The Stars). No surprise Kardashian was an endorser as she seems to endorse anything that pays money.
The company is forbidden from making virtually any health claims about the shoes going forward. Reebok was forced into a smaller but similar settlement as well recently.
Although it is important for all brands to find uniqueness and distinctiveness in their categories, since Sketchers reason for being was most notably based on this premise, the brandmanspeaks feels the brand is now left empty-handed with no positioning to merit consumer interest.