Reebok to re-launch EasyTone shoes… despite $25m settlement over “toning” claims
Reebok”s EasyTone sneakers are to be re-launched despite charges brought against the sportswear brand by the Federal Trade Commission.
Reebok president Uli Becker appeared undeterred by the recent $25million settlement with the FTC, announcing that they will continue to develop and promote their line of muscle toning sneakers.
The message, delivered in the presence of Addidas CEO Herbert Hainer and other executives at a press lunch in New York this week, comes in the wake of charges that the EasyTone advertising campaign was deceptive.
Easy toning: Reebok”s walking shoe that claims to improve muscle tone
Advertisements claiming that walking in its EasyTone shoes and running in its RunTone shoes strengthen and tone key muscles more than regular shoes, were misleading, according to the FTC.
In a previous statement Reebok defended its decision to settle by saying: “Settling does not mean we agree with the FTC”s allegations; we do not.
We have received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from thousands of EasyTone customers, and we remain committed to the further development of our EasyTone line of products.”
Among those rave reviews was the celebrity endorsement of one Kim Kardashian, well known for her perfectly rounded behind.
Following a party hosted by Reebok in Beverly Hills in 2009 Kardashian blogged: “You guys wouldn’t believe it,these shoes have a ball (kind of like thatbig balance ball you use to do sit ups on) on the bottom of the shoes!
So basically it works your leg and butt muscles as you simply walk!”
Celebrity backing: Kim Kardashian poses for a portrait at the Reebok Easy Tone shoe launch party
But Reebok had a difficult substantiating the claims that its shoes could change your shape and improve muscle tone.
Additional criticism about the performance shoe came in response to the advertisements that, according to numerous readers of Jezebel, objectified women.
The “Make Your Boobs Jealous” slogan failed to impress readers who felt that Reebok was suggesting the only reason to look good was to attract men.
Women make up 85 percent of the toning shoe market that has been dominated thus far by Reebok and Sketchers. Nike was reported to have considered responding to the footwear phenomenon by creating its own line but never moved forward.
Those who still believe that the secret to a toned derriere is all about what”s on your feet will be pleased to hear news of the re-launch.
Becker said on Tuesday: “Toning was driven by the insight that women care about their looks, and that insight doesn’t change.”
Deceit On of the advertisements that got Reebok into trouble
He added that sales of toning sneakers have been strong overseas and that new product innovation, tighter distribution and a long-term plan would be key to reestablishing the footwear category in the U.S.
With sales are up from last year, Becker and Addidas Group executives are seemingly unworried about the controversy surrounding the Easy Tone line.
2012 brings only more advertising and brand-building opportunities with Euro 2012 soccer championship and the London Olympics.