With a Counterintuitive Message, the ‘Greatest Sock Never Sold’ Is Helping America’s Homeless Shelters

Bombas celebrates its 10 millionth pair shipped

Bombas has donated 10 million pairs of specially-designed socks to homeless shelters. Bombas
Headshot of T.L. Stanley

You can admire this sturdy-looking yet fashionable pair of socks, but you can’t purchase it. The cozy foot warmers sit behind glass in a sleek, minimalist display, loom large on billboards and show up online next to a counter-intuitive “don’t buy now” button.

What gives?

Ad agency Humanaut, in its first work for mission-driven brand Bombas, is treating the product like an haute couture original and using its unattainable status as a storytelling hook.

Now here’s the reveal: For every pair of socks that Bombas sells, it gives the specially-designed versions to homeless shelters around the country, and the program just shipped its 10 millionth pair of the Bombas Donation Sock.

In the one-minute video, dubbed “The Greatest Sock Never Sold,” company founders Randy Goldberg and David Heath talk about creating socks, the most-requested item among the homeless population, with reinforced seams, antimicrobial treatment and a darker color to show less visible wear.

The campaign means to give consumers “a behind-the-scenes look at the care and attention that their purchases and support help facilitate,” Goldberg said.

Humanaut execs found it “very rewarding” to flip the script on a traditional selling message and call attention to “10 million small acts of human kindness.”

“The goal here was to hype a product in order to make people want to give it to someone in need,” said David Littlejohn, chief creative director.

The 60-second hero spot, along with shorter versions, will run through the holidays on national cable TV and Facebook.


Client: Bombas
Agency: Humanaut
Campaign Title: The Greatest Sock Never Sold

Chief Creative Director: David Littlejohn
Chief Strategist: Andrew Clark
Director of Content: Dan Jacobs
Director of Production: Tommy Wilson
Creative Producer: Maggie Baynham
Account Director: Elizabeth Cates
Copywriter: Jedd Levine / Andy Pearson
Senior Art Director: Albert Breitwieser
Designer: Coleson Amon
Social Producer: Sam Taylor
Content Creator: Jeri Eduave

Production Company: Bindery
Executive Producer: Greg Beauchamp
Producer: Min Soo Kim
Director: Jeffrey Chan
Director of Photography: Matthew Schroeder

Post-Production: Humanaut Productions
Editor: Annie Huntington
Post-Producer: Dan Jacobs
Color: Bindery

@TLStanleyLA tlstanley8@yahoo.com T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.
Publish date: November 7, 2018 https://stage.adweek.com/brand-marketing/with-a-counterintuitive-message-the-greatest-sock-never-sold-is-helping-americas-homeless-shelters/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT