Is Crocs Trying to Ditch Its Image of Lazy Comfort?

The shoe company has announced Drew Barrymore and John Cena will be brand ambassadors, but it doesn't highlight longtime partner Mario Batali.
Is Crocs Trying to Ditch Its Image of Lazy Comfort?
Image credit: Chance Yeh | Getty Images

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When many people think of Crocs, the first person that comes to mind is chef Mario Batali, with his cozy, comfort-first style. (Or maybe the guys from Duck Dynasty.)

We all have a stereotype in our minds of Crocs as footwear for cooks, nurses or people who just rolled out of bed. But now the company seems to be trying to shake that image in exchange for one of empowered authenticity.

Batali, an “unofficial Crocs ambassador,” became a licensed partner of the company when it debuted its Batali-branded “Bistro” line in May 2007. Nearly 10 years later, Crocs still sells the Bistros. But next spring, the company plans to launch a new brand campaign that so far does not appear to include the award-winning chef.

Related: Mario Batali and the Power of 'Delusional Optimism'

The name of the campaign is “Come As You Are,” and Crocs has selected actor Drew Barrymore and professional wrestler John Cena among its new ambassadors, along with performers Henry Lau and Yoona, who are popular in Asia. In a press release, Crocs says it will “celebrate the uniqueness of individuals and inspire everyone to be comfortable in their own shoes.”

This seems to be a marketing shift for Crocs, which is commonly known for outfitting frumpy folks rather than 20-something trendsetters, Boho chic moms and ripped wrestlers in suits. The company will release more details about the campaign in January, a Crocs brand spokesperson told Entrepreneur in an email.

Barrymore was inspired to participate in the campaign because of its message of love and being true to yourself, according to the release, while Cena was bullied as a teenager and underscores the importance of turning negativity into positivity.

Related: How to Turn Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

A few years ago, Batali revealed that he requested a lifetime supply of orange Crocs clogs when the company announced it would stop producing them in his favorite color. The hole-free Bistro shoes, on the other hand, have been available in various colors through the years -- though always in Batali’s preferred orange. They were designed for the comfort and protection of food service, hospitality and health-care workers.

If Crocs’s upcoming campaign works out, maybe makers of medical scrubs could enlist movie stars to help people feel more comfortable going about their business.
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