Julia Seidel- Toms vs. Bobs

Posted: October 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

In our most recent class discussion we talked a lot about taste. The point about taste that I found fascinating was that we describe tastes by what we dislike (our distastes). This photo shows the extreme similarities between Toms shoes and Bobs shoes. Toms came out in 2006, whereas Bobs are a clear copy that came out in 2010. They look similar and both donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. However, Bobs are a cheaper version. Most people buy Toms, because if you buy Bobs then that is considered to be a “fake” for most people worried about what others think in society. Another example of product similarity are Ugg boots and Emu boots. Ugg’s are better quality, and the Emu’s are known as fake Uggs. In these examples, taste is displayed because you like the one product because it is not the other/ the fake.  This concept can also be related to that of sameness in consumer culture which we discussed earlier in the term.

The question to ask ourselves is, do fake brands hurt the big brands and reduce their profits, or do fakes provide free advertising and increase company profits?

Julia Seidel

  1. Charlotte Bullock says:

    I think this is an interesting observation that really shows the power of brand identity and brand loyalty. I think the question you left off with is something to really think about too. It made me think about grocery store brands such as “compliments” or presidents choice. They are founded on making products incredibly similar to major brands, but by keeping them just different enough to avoid legal issues. If they taste the same, people usually dont have a problem with buying them for a cheaper price. Shoes and other clothing items could be different because you have to wear and display your choice of ugg or emu, toms or bobs so people might be more likely to buy into the main brand. So whether the fake brands hurt or help major brands, I believe all depends on the product.

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