Zimmerman Wins Crocs Shoes Ad Account

Marketer of Hot-Selling Rubber Clogs Eyes Strategy That's Light on Pushing Sales

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Fort Lauderdale agency Zimmerman has won the Crocs advertising account by ignoring the obvious: the company's shoes.
What put the Omnicom agency ahead of 10 other contenders was its focus on the technology within the shoes called Croslite.
What put the Omnicom agency ahead of 10 other contenders was its focus on the technology within the shoes called Croslite.

Crocs are colorful, comfortable, ugly-in-a-cute-sort-of-way rubber clogs that fly in the face of everything Jimmy Choo and Vogue stand for. "Our view of it was this: Don't hire us to sell more shoes," said Michael Goldberg, chief marketing officer at Zimmerman. "They already do that as well as any company ever has."

Put focus on technology
What put the Omnicom agency ahead of 10 other contenders was its focus on the technology within the shoes called Croslite. (Crocs' previous agency was TDA Advertising & Design, Boulder, Colo.)

"What people don't know [about the shoes,]" said Mr. Goldberg, "is that they are anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-smell, anti-slippage. They are kind of anti-everything-bad." With that technology out in the open, argued Mr. Goldberg, the moms, health-care workers and chefs (such as Mario Batali, said to own at least 13 pairs all in bright orange) who wear them for "the community, the expressiveness" will love them even more.

Beyond that, Zimmerman also presented a futuristic vision of all the products Croslite could be applied to, such as food storage, cutting boards, baby rattles and athletic shin guards.

Long-term strategy
Mr. Goldberg said the Boulder, Colo., shoe company wasn't looking for agency to promote it in 2007, but rather to come up with a long-term strategy. Crocs "finally found an agency that saw past the short-term glory of what analysts say are 37 million pairs of shoes [sold]."

"This wasn't simply about developing a set of ads to put more shoes on more feet," Ed Wunsch, Crocs' director-marketing, said in a statement. "Zimmerman's approach was to look at the bigger and broader opportunity for us, and dig deep into this company to help assets that can be leveraged for decades to come."

According to TNS Media Intelligence, Crocs spent $2.2 million on measured media for the first nine months of 2006. With $500 million in sales predicted for 2007, Zimmerman could be looking at as much as $25 million in spending across all media should Crocs keep up with the 3% to 5% ad spending trend across the shoe industry.

While Mr. Goldberg said there will be a traditional multimedia approach to Crocs' advertising, the real brunt of the campaign will "continue to be driven by word of mouth." Crocs is a company that has allowed its consumers to dictate the use of its product and it wants that to continue.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, was part of the review that was won by Zimmerman. The agency did not participate in the Crocs' review.
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