Why Crocs Wants Consumers to ‘Feel the Love’

Crocs is on a mission to show consumers the “soul” and “foot-loving sole” of its shoes. The brand, which is known for clog-like designs, on March 29 debuted a new campaign—Crocs’ first integrated marketing effort centered on a single message, said vp of marketing Ken Chaplin. That message (and the campaign’s theme) is “Feel the Love,” and it focuses on a proprietary technology called Croslite, which is built into every Crocs shoe. The campaign, created by the band’s new lead agency Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago, is now rolling out in the U.S. and Europe. It spans TV and print (books such as Real Simple and InStyle), out-of-home, POP, and includes a major social media/digital component. In an interview with Brandweek, Chaplin disucssed the Crocs global effort, why “love” is the central theme, and what his favorite Crocs shoe is. Excerpts are below:

Brandweek: How did you come up with the campaign’s theme, “Feel the Love”? What’s the message behind it?
Ken Chaplin:
“Feel the Love” made sense on a number of levels, but first and foremost because of our proprietary Croslite technology—the soft, cushiony, foot-loving material in every pair of Crocs. 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.

BW: And what about the animated Croslite characters? What do they represent?
The adorable Croslite characters at the heart of the campaign personify the proprietary technology that serves as the “soul” and sole of every pair of Crocs shoes. Croslites represent the heritage of our brand while encouraging people to take a fresh look at our new styles and discover that Crocs offers more than “one shoe.”
BW: Are you targeting any specific age group?
We aren’t defining our target by age or demographics, but rather by a mindset. Our core audience is people who are comfortable with themselves. They are adventurous and spirited. They are people who get more out of life and are always willing to try something new. The inherent self-confidence of this group allows them to appreciate the quirkiness of Crocs and enjoy Crocs for what they really are—a fun, comfortable shoe.

BW: You’ve been quoted saying that the campaign’s goal is to reinforce what the Crocs brand stands for. What is that exactly?
Crocs rapidly became a global footwear sensation and to date we’ve sold more than 120 million pairs of shoes. But we want to fully establish Crocs as brand and not simply one shoe style. Crocs is a lifestyle footwear brand that brings profound comfort, innovation and fun to the world’s feet. Our shoes are comfortable for a reason and the comfort from our Classic style can be found in everything we do. The campaign encourages consumers to take another look at Crocs. Our Classic collection is still a viable and important part of our product mix and this campaign builds on that to show people that there’s more to love.
BW: Social networks have become an important channel for marketers. Are you doing anything on social nets like Facebook or Twitter for this campaign?
Absolutely—we are fortunate to have a very devoted and passionate base of customers online. In the coming months, we will be launching key programs across social media platforms that deepen our fan engagement and provide avenues in which they can “share the love” with others.

BW: How is this effort similar or different compared to others you’ve done in the past?
Historically we’ve focused the majority of our efforts around experiential and event-based marketing. This approach served the brand well in our early years. Sponsorships helped us establish our brand and drive word of mouth. As we develop as a brand and work to grow top-line revenue, we need to expand our reach. This campaign represents Crocs’ first integrated marketing effort around a single message—“Feel the Love”—with worldwide execution. The “Feel the Love” campaign is fully integrated across all consumer touch points with the intention of reaching a target consumer we feel represents the core of our business, ultimately driving the sales and increased brand awareness for Crocs.

BW: Do you have favorite Crocs shoes?
Santa Cruz. The shoe has all the comfort of the Classic with a Croslite footbed and a variety of canvas uppers that can be worn all day in any number of settings.