Manolo says, it lives!
The footwear company based in Niwot, Colo., is fighting its way back since being declared “dead” in press reports last year.
After enjoying great success as its shoes flew off shelves and investors snapped up its stock—the company raised more than $200 million in its 2006 stock offering—Crocs stumbled during the recession. Consumers and investors considered the clog—and the company’s stock—a fad that had faded.
Now, Crocs is trying to fashion a comeback. It’s rolling out new, higher-priced shoes that include flip-flops and high heels. Those styles are highlighted in ads. Its traditional clog? It has been turned into an advertising character—two of them, actually—who give foot massages.
It is like the horror movie. Just when you think the monster is dead, there it is, scrabbling at your throat with it’s horny hands.
This week I caught up with Ken Chaplin, vice president of global marketing for Crocs. He was eager to show off its new shoes and boots but he seemed careful to avoid the word “clog.” Instead, he referred to it as “that iconic shoe.”
That Which Must Not Be Named!
Q: You’re still best known for your quirky clog with holes even though you’re also selling boots, high heels and flip-flops. How do you take a brand associated with clogs and stretch it to include many different types of footwear?
Chaplin: We are looked at as a brand but also as an item—a very iconic item in that shoe you mentioned and one that has brand awareness in the United States of over 95%. Our idea was to use that to our advantage. Working with our agency Cramer-Krasselt we came up with this idea on how to bridge the past, that iconic shoe, with the future. With over 250 styles, our best opportunity was to let them know the comfort from our iconic shoe can be found in everything we do.
Allow the Manolo to translate: “Yes, That Which Must Not Be Named nearly destroyed civilization, but look, over there, candy!”
Q. I talk to a lot of folks about how they manage their reputations online but few companies like yours have critics who’ve set up Web sites and Facebook sites against their products. There are 8,000 members of the “I Hate Crocs” Facebook page. Why do some people feel so hostile toward this brand and what do you do about them?
Chaplin: I haven’t seen a lot of new activity on those sites for a while. We have such a great opportunity in the US with people who are open to Crocs. We’re using our efforts to talk to them.
Q. Crocs has been in danger of going the way of many other fads. Is it possible Crocs will show that a fad can have staying power?
Chaplin: We don’t use the ‘F’ word.
You may be certain that the Manolo has already used the ‘F’ word.
Manolo says, one of the Manolo internet friends has sent the Manolo the note.
I just wanted to let you know of the abomination on your ad space.
Many thanks to the Sarah and the others who have alerted the the Manolo to this.
It is curious, no?
One would think that the people behind the Crocs would know how the Manolo feels about their ungainly, life-sapping, and horrifically unattractive product, for it is not as if the Manolo has made any secret of his feelings.
But, the Manolo’s position is that the Crocs are the legal product which, if you are not riding on the escalator or wrestling alligators, pose little physical threat to humans. (Of the course, the aesthetic threat is incalculable.) And thus the Manolo the Capitalist is not opposed to taking their advertising dollars.
Much more troubling to the Manolo is the frequent reappearance of the advertisements promoting the fake designer shoes, especially the fake Christian Louboutin shoes. Indeed, for nearly two years now, the Manolo has been waging the continual war against these criminals in his comments section and his banner advertising. And yet the fake ads continue to reappear, usually with the slightly different website or name. And the Manolo must again contact Google or Glam to get them to remove the new offender.
And so you may see, there are far worse things than the Crocs, which although ugly, have the virtue of honesty. They do not pretend to be anything other than what they are, which is why the Manolo does not mind their advertisement, even if he thinks the Crocs peoples are ultimately wasting their monies.
Manolo says, once again, wearing cheap plastic feetwear almost results in death.
This past Monday, Diane was out house-hunting. She checked out a listing for a house that was interesting in part because it was close to a park. After looking at the house, Diane went over to the park to have a look at it, too. This was Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida, near I-275 and Gandy Boulevard. She took Ritka, our Vizsla, walking with her. Diane and Ritka were near the water’s edge at about 4:30 PM when Diane saw the water churn. She immediately called to Ritka and started moving away from the water. Ritka’s usual behavior is to run ahead, and that’s just what Ritka did. Diane, though, slipped on the slope and fell to her hands and knees, perhaps in part due to the slip-on “Crocs”-like shoes she was wearing at the time. The churning water was, indeed, a sign of a gator making a lunge, coming out of the water. The gator didn’t connect with anything on his first lunge, but he grabbed Diane’s left calf with his second lunge.
Ayyyy! Crocs vs. Gators!!! And the Gator is in the process of winning. Happily, everything works out moderately okay in the end.
Lesson: Do not be food for the alligator. Do not wear Crocs.
P.S. Thanks to the Manolo’s internet friend Carrie who writes: Not only will Crocs make you a victim of fashion, they will make you a victim of alligators. Which is funny because it is true!
Manolo says, since the government is giving away the free money to the car buyers, perhaps it is time for the shoe industry to lobby for their own subsidy.
Thus the Manolo proposes the Cash for Clogs program.
Turn in your old Croc for destruction and receive the $10 gift certificate for the purchase of the new pair of beautiful shoes.
To state in graphic terms…turn in this monstrosity…
Off of the price of something like this…
The Tiara by Charles David. The prefect sort of summery replacement for the odious Croc.
Of the course, the government will have to immediately destroy the Croc, and set very tight restrictions on which shoes will be qualify for this proposed program. And naturally, the Manolo volunteers to do his patriotic duty by helping the bureaucrats set the proper standards of new footwear acceptability and beauty.
So, get to work, shoe industry lobbyists, and have Congress help us make the world the more beautiful place while stimulating the domestic shoe sales.
Manolo says, many, many, many of the Manolo’s internet friends have sent the Manolo the link to this story.
Crocs were born of the economic boom.
The colorful foam clogs appeared in 2002, just as the country was recovering from a recession. Brash and bright, they were a cheap investment (about $30) that felt good and promised to last forever. Former president George W. Bush wore them. Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler wore them. Your grandma wore them. They roared along with the economy, mocked by the fashion world but selling 100 million pairs in seven years.
Then the boom times went bust, and Crocs went to the back of the closet.
The company had expanded to meet demand, but financially pressed customers cut back. Last year the company lost $185.1 million, slashed roughly 2,000 jobs and scrambled to find money to pay down millions in debt. Now it’s stuck with a surplus of shoes, and its auditors have wondered if it can stay afloat. It has until the end of September to pay off its debt.
“The company’s toast,” said Damon Vickers, who manages an investment fund at Nine Points Capital Partners in Seattle. “They’re zombie-ish. They’re dead and they don’t know it.”
On the one hand the Manolo wishes to shout, “Ding Dong, the Crocs are dead!”, and yet on the other of the hands, he feels very sorry for the many people who will be harmed by the consequent loss of employment. (Being the low level Croc employee is sort of like being one of the independent contractors building the Death Star.)
By the way, one reason for the demise of Crocs the Company? The toxic durability of their product.
But the shoes were hitting a saturation point; the problem with a nearly indestructible product is that shoppers rarely need to replace it.
Who needs a second pair of Crocs in a recession, particularly when the first pair is holding up just fine?
Indeed, who needs the first pair, recession or not?
However, once acquired, it appears that the Crocs are like radioactive waste: they have the lengthy half-life in your closet.
Manolo says, far be it from the Manolo to engage in the unseemly gloating, but…
Crocs have been on a downward spiral for months now. Fashion people have rejoiced at the thought of Crocs — the bubonic plague of footwear — succumbing to the economy and dying out altogether in the foreseeable future. Earlier this month, the company reported a loss of $22.4 million in the first quarter (last year they only lost $4.5 million in that period). The outlook seemed dismal for Crocs yet bright for feet everywhere! But like so many unattractive fashion trends (high-wasted tapered pants, Arden Wohl headbands, leg warmers, scrunchies … ), Crocs are poised to survive, quite possibly flourish. In March they brought on John Duerden as president and CEO. Charged with turning the company around, he’s painfully optimistic.
I had probably dismissed it as a fad. I thought, this is not going to last, but as I began to look at the company, it became clear to me that there was a passionate group of consumers out there … I still believe there is a buzz out there in the marketplace; there are consumers who like the idea of Crocs shoes.
Oh. Good. Heavens. Duerden plans to recover from the losses by laying people off, refining Crocs’s signature injection-molded technology, and continuing global expansion in markets like Japan and Southeast Asia.
Clearly the Manolo’s work here is almost done.
Manolo says, far be it from the Manolo to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others, but….
Crocs Inc. shares plunged 45% Thursday, stumbling after the colorful sandal maker reported a whopping third-quarter loss and warned of further financial pain as it downsizes what was once a high-flying business to better match sharply reduced demand.
Happy days are here again, the sky o’er head is clear again!
The Crocs are dead this year, Amen! Happy days are here again!
P.S. Many thanks to the Manolo’s internet friend, Aaron, for this good news.
Manolo says, Ayyyyyyy, nooooooo! The snakes have entered the Garden of Eden!
Manolo says, perhaps our long international nightmare is finally over.
Shares of Crocs Inc plummeted over 40 percent on Tuesday, a day after the maker of brightly colored plastic shoes slashed its sales and earnings projections for the first quarter and year, in what one analyst dubbed a “stunning fall.”
“Current macrotrends in the environment” have led to weaker-than-expected sales, according to Crocs Chief Executive Ron Snyder, speaking to analysts during a conference call on Tuesday. Colder weather and the closure of the company’s Canadian factory were also expected to crimp profit.
Factories producing Satan’s feetwear are closing? Sales of ugly plastic clogs are plummeting? Super Villain CEOs are whining at the press?
Can ticker-tape parades and joyous public pronouncements of thanksgiving be far behind?