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Deceptive Shoe Advertising by Brooks?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Just saw this ad in this morning's L.A. Times: "First Introduced Peal & Company 1953 Long before Henry Sands Brooks founded Brooks Brothers in 1818, he was known for the fine clothing he brought back from England. Continuing that tradition, Brooks Brothers introduced ready-made Peal shoes to America some 52 years ago. Today, Brooks Brothers remains the only source, anywhere, for this exquisite footwear." Given that the Brooks Peals are manufactured by Alfred Sargent, whose shoes are most certainly available from other sources, isn't this a bit deceptive or at best disingenuous? Do the Brooks-Peal Sargents differ significantly in quality or design from similar Sargent products marketed under Sargent's own name? In that case, Brooks might be forgiven a bit of puffery. And how "exquisite" are they? I don't hear Sargents discussed much in the fora. Those I have looked at impress me as good, decent shoes, but the Brooks-Aldens impress me as being a tad nicer. Or is this just nationalistic prejudice on my part?
post #2 of 28
They are good shoes. Good retail buy during the 25% sales, but not worth the full price markup IMO. Alden makes a better shoe, though the "Peal" shoes are arguably on more eye pleasing lasts (Brooks carries mainly Alden's Barrie last, one of the clunkier ones). I think that piece of advertising is close to deceptive. But, I once asked who makes the Peal shoes and the response was "Peal of course."
post #3 of 28
I'd speculate that the Peal name and marks are either owned outright by Brooks, or that Brooks is the exclusive licensee. In either of those cases it is entirely truthful for them to state that they are the only source, anywhere, for Peal shoes. Whether the Peal shoe of today is anything like those of yesterday (which of course it isn't) is a different issue.
post #4 of 28
I agree, Retro, but I think you could at least make a colorable Lanham Act claim. The language implies that the shoe that it produced today is the same as the shoe produced in 1952. That could be taken by a consumer to mean that it is manufactured by the same manufacturer. It is not. Whether a judge would buy that argument or not is another question. But, in any event, it is clear that Brooks is being sneaky here.
post #5 of 28
Quote:
I agree, Retro, but I think you could at least make a colorable Lanham Act claim.  The language implies that the shoe that it produced today is the same as the shoe produced in 1952.  That could be taken by a consumer to mean that it is manufactured by the same manufacturer.  It is not.   Whether a judge would buy that argument or not is another question.  But, in any event, it is clear that Brooks is being sneaky here.
"Inheritance" of brand names is such a common thing that it fails to bother me any more. I have a Zenith brand HDTV box made by LG in South Korea, and a Voigtlander rangefinder camera made in Japan by Cosina. Neither of them have the slightest connection to the proud, dead, US and German forebears of those names, nor bear any resemblance to the products of the past. Those LA Times ads could certainly be challenged under the California Unfair Competition Law, which allows any person affected by "unfair" business conduct to sue for an injunction or the return of their money. What is "unfair," you ask? Simple. If anyone, anywhere, ever could have conceivably said "that doesn't seem fair," your claim can probably survive a motion to dismiss. Who says CA is hostile to business?.?
post #6 of 28
And to think J.P. Stevens could have put an end to that crazy California law once and for all.
post #7 of 28
I know next to nothing about deceptive trade practices, but I think part of the argument Brooks would make is that you are getting a shoe of a quality you would expect for this price point. In other words, they're not selling you a "Peal" shoe for $500 that is actually worth $370 because it is made by Alfred Sargent (or C&J). They are selling you a shoe for $370 that is worth $370 (putting aside general, ridiculous retail mark-ups). Just because a company named "Peal" didn't make it doesn't mean that you are harmed in any real way. Jeff
post #8 of 28
Well, it is the only place you can get "Peal" shoes. Also, hasn't it been discussed that their C&J models appear to be a line somewhere between their regular and handgrade models? Not quite to handgrade status, but do have channeled soles, etc. Perhaps there actually are Peal specs that differ from other shoes from their makers (C&J and Sargent).
post #9 of 28
I know nothing of copyright law.  I do know that Brooks has owned the Peal name for several decades.  The Peal bespoke house (in London) from which they bought the name had a distict toe shape, much the way Cleverley does today.  (Vastly different shape, however.)  When Brooks started producing RTW Peal shoes, they had Edward Green recreate that toe in a last that was exclusive to the Brooks Peal shoe.  That was sold in the 50s and 60s (and maybe later). So far as I know, the Peal Sargent's are not in any way different from regular Sargents.  I am certain that they don't have the Peal toe.  The only way to get that is to go to Flusser, or special order it from Edward Green (707 last).
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I know next to nothing about deceptive trade practices, but I think part of the argument Brooks would make is that you are getting a shoe of a quality you would expect for this price point.  In other words, they're not selling you a "Peal" shoe for $500 that is actually worth $370 because it is made by Alfred Sargent (or C&J).  They are selling you a shoe for $370 that is worth $370 (putting aside general, ridiculous retail mark-ups).  Just because a company named "Peal" didn't make it doesn't mean that you are harmed in any real way. Jeff
I suppose one is not "harmed" by Brooks' claims about the Peal shoes, but it does seem at least disingenuous to claim that they are the only source anywhere for these shoes when in fact identical or nearly identical shoes from the same manufacturer, differing, presumably, only in the brand name stamped on them, are widely available from other sources (at least in the UK).
post #11 of 28
Quote:
I suppose one is not "harmed" by Brooks' claims about the Peal shoes, but it does seem at least disingenuous to claim that they are the only source anywhere for these shoes when in fact identical or nearly identical shoes from the same manufacturer, differing, presumably, only in the brand name stamped on them, are widely available from other sources (at least in the UK)
I suppose this is true. The person who buys a Peal shoe thinks he is getting something exclusive when, in reality, it is not that exclusive. It seems tangible damages would still be hard to prove, however. Of course, none of this answers the moral question as to whether Brooks should be advertising these shoes in the way they do (although, it should be pointed out that Brooks is far from the only retail establishment which engages in puffing, if that's what this is). Jeff
post #12 of 28
Quote:
So far as I know, the Peal Sargent's are not in any way different from regular Sargents.  I am certain that they don't have the Peal toe.  The only way to get that is to go to Flusser, or special order it from Edward Green (707 last).
As our friend Kaga likes to say, "IMMSMC" Brooks bought the lasts when Peal went out of business. Of course, I don't know whether Brooks sold Peal RTW shoes while Peal was still in business -- does anyone know when it shut down? In Goldfinger, Bond notices that Mr Du Pont's shoes are "old and polished mahogany and hinted Peal", but the implication is that they are from Brooks as is the rest of that American millionaire's outfit. Green at one point also called its 404 last the "trans-atlantic Peal shape" but I've never seen a shoe on that last. It is probable that after Brooks stopped using Green, it simply commissioned another Northampton maker to make shoes on its own usual lasts and abandoned the Peal toe.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
As our friend Kaga likes to say, "IMMSMC" Brooks bought the lasts when Peal went out of business.
They bought all the bespoke lasts?  Well, I suppose that helped them recreate the toe shape.  And, come to think of it, the lasts are the primary "inventory" of a bespoke shoe business, so if you buy the business, I suppose you are buying the lasts.
Quote:
Of course, I don't know whether Brooks sold Peal RTW shoes while Peal was still in business -- does anyone know when it shut down?
IMMSMC, Brooks bought Peal out for the sole purpose of acquiring a known high-end name for an exclusive line of shoes.  There were no RTW Peals until the bespoke Peal shut down and Brooks commissioned them from EG.
Quote:
It is probable that after Brooks stopped using Green, it simply commissioned another Northampton maker to make shoes on its own usual lasts and abandoned the Peal toe.
Yes.  There was at least one other before Sargent.  But I can't remember which one.
post #14 of 28
Here's a discussion about Peal and Brooks from Bengal-Stripe a while ago. There was a more recent discussion on the same top topic that Jerryfriend started maybe a month ago in which Manton and I participated, but I can't find it. http://66.170.193.77/cgi-bin....+brooks
post #15 of 28
Quote:
IMMSMC, Brooks bought Peal out for the sole purpose of acquiring a known high-end name for an exclusive line of shoes.  There were no RTW Peals until the bespoke Peal shut down and Brooks commissioned them from EG.
Hm. In the link above, bengal-stripe states Peal closed in the 1960s, but Goldfinger was published in the late 1950s. Perhaps there was some overlap of RTW and bespoke production? Or perhaps Peal had closed earlier?
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