by Jeff Goss, CEO/Creative Director
Gold Toe socks, depending on direct sales to department stores for decades, became a household name brand in America from the 1930s-70s. Back then, men didn’t really care much about socks. They were an afterthought, “black, brown, grey, or did I say black?” That all started to change with competition for the department stores with fashion brands like Jockey, Polo, Tommy Hilfiger leading the way, followed by the rest of the designer world expanding their brand line to include not just socks but designer socks to fit their customer profile. Oh, the pain didn’t stop there: The department stores and malls were on the decline with increased individual brand brick-and-mortar stores and lifestyle centers and outlet malls.
Gold Toe struck back not with its own expanded line of designer styles, but with its iconic reinforced gold toe delivering the messages: “We only do socks” and “Nothing lasts forever, but we’re working on it.” This struck a chord with men shoppers who liked their socks to be fashionable, but cared more about their big toe sticking out, because not too many wives sit around mending socks these days. Well anyway, with the advance in selection of styles coupled with the strength and longevity message, Gold Toe bounced back, placing ads in sports and fashion media and in-store POP. It was so successful the budget went from a campaign project to a $7M marketing budget. Of course, we were deemed too small, and the account promptly went to a London agency. That’s life in the marketing world.