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Crocs' Advertising Campaign Bites
By: Jeff Louis
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I hate to admit it, but I'm not much of a fashionista. In fact, other than knowing that jeans go with everything, my fashion sense is non-existent. Truthfully, I base my clothing decisions on what my family or friends buy me as gifts. If it's a polo shirt, then I assume they are still good to go. If it's a pair of dress pants without pleats, then I believe that pleats are no longer necessary. However, I'm not a total moron. If someone bought me a checkered suit, it would hit the return pile quickly.

I may pay much attention to the fashion world, but I do know what's ridiculous. The ridiculous category includes Spankx for men, those stupid women's blouses with absolutely no back to them, shirts that look and feel like pajamas, and Crocs.

It astonishes me that humans, the apex of the food chain, deemed foam shoes as being cool. I remember seeing my first pair on a business trip to Nashville with my friend Casey, and to blow some time, we went to a local shopping mall. He spotted a pair of Crocs.  

I had no idea what he was talking about, but I thought they were ugliest shoes I had ever seen. They were foamy-looking sandal-type footwear in pastel colors. I picked one up and was astonished by their lack of weight or substance.

After I flipped it over to look at the price tag, I couldn't believe what I saw. Someone wants $40 for foam shoes? Not in this lifetime. Casey bought a pair and twisted his ankle the following day. He didn't get any sympathy from me; I warned him. 

When the Crocs mothership showed sings of crashing, proving once and for all that the shoes were a goofy-looking yet expensive trend, I wasn't the least bit put off. Since I'd seen that first pair, Crocs and knockoffs were everywhere. It seemed like everyone I knew owned a pair. In fact, one friend criticized me for not buying a pair. I responded he could take his Crocs and his Members Only jacket and stuff them up his rear and that he was nothing but a lemming and a label whore.

We're not such good friends anymore.

Well, Crocs lovers, it's not over yet. Although Crocs has financially struggled since 2007, they're still in business. Now, they're advertising. Whoopee.

According to articles from Brand Week.com and the Chicago Sun-Times, Crocs new campaign, "Feel the Love," is all about "soul" and the "foot-loving sole" of the company's shoes. It kicked off on March 29 and heralds a new design that's different from the clunky-looking "Dutch" shoes that first made the brand popular. Instead, it focuses on Croslite, "the soft, cushiony, foot-loving material in every pair of Crocs."

Chaplin elaborates: "This technology is what sets our shoes apart from any other in the casual footwear market. We make shoes that love you back, and people are passionate about our footwear because of this."

That's not the only thing that sets the shoe apart. Chaplin also notes Crocs aren't just a style of shoe; they're a brand. Hmmm.

"They're a lifestyle footwear brand," Chaplin said, "that brings profound comfort, innovation and fun to the world’s feet."

Cramer-Krasselt's Chicago office is the agency behind the effort, which uses TV, print, out-of-home, point-of-purchase, social media, and digital media.

To date, Crocs has sold over 120 million pairs of shoes since opening in 2002. The company experienced tremendous growth that topped off in 2006, followed by a tremendous decline in demand for their products. The company is now inventory heavy and sales light. According to Reuters, they're unable to control their costs.

Honestly, the Crocs brand is dead because there never really was much of a brand. Instead of "brand followed by product," the Crocs model is backwards. Now the company is trying to build their brand around pre-existing shoes. I don't know about you, but I don't think I understand "profound comfort," let alone how it makes my feet fun. Their brand is hazy at best, and the commercial reflects this fact.  

Whether Croslite is a new technology or has always been part of the shoes' construction isn't clear. What is clear is that for better or worse, Crocs will be around for at least another year.

Score another point for mediocrity.




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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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