Crocs Taps McKinney as New Global Agency

Shoe Manufacturer Wants to Build on 'Find Your Fun' Brand Positioning

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Shoe manufacturer Crocs tapped McKinney as its first global agency since 2010, when it brought the bulk of its work in-house.

The company returned to the global model because it wanted a more consistent message to help it convert prospective buyers into loyalists, said Crocs' VP of Global Marketing Terence Reilly.

The North Carolina-based shop will support Crocs' "Find Your Fun" brand positioning, with a scope spanning creative and strategy, media buying and planning, and brand management for all Crocs collections, which are sold in more than 90 countries.

"[The positioning] is rooted in being a little bit different," Mr. Reilly said. "All the research and brand testing we undertook last year speaks to the fun, color, comfort and innovation of our brand. We want to spread that globally with a more significant spend and more refined message."

Prior to hiring McKinney, the company had handled creative in-house and worked with various planning and buying teams that were "ad hoc by region" around the world. The new consolidated approach "will have global firepower behind it to allow us to tell the same message in multiple markets," said Mr. Reilly, who joined last June to oversee marketing for the Americas and more recently took on a global role. He previously worked at Brown Shoe Company.

"We're looking for a broader appeal and a far more strategic way to speak to the varied consumer we have," he said. "There are so many loyalists we want to continue to engage, and appeal to folks considering Crocs." It's a goal that "especially" includes in-store creative and dot-com, he added.

McKinney will lead the account out of its New York office, which opened last year. Through parent Cheil's global network, the company said it would focus on markets in the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., and Germany.

Having a New York office was important to the Colorado-based company, but it was McKinney's creative presentation and the global resources of the shop's parent that sealed the deal. "With a lot of our business and customers in Asia, the South Korea connection was a big part of our decision making," Mr. Reilly said, pointing out that 65% of Croc's business is international.

The win gives McKinney its first leading global assignment. Cheil acquired McKinney in 2012.

"It's a great win for the New York door of the agency, through which the account will be handled. And proof of our 'one agency, two doors' model of collaboration — bringing the right people together from both New York and Durham to create powerful ideas," said Brad Brinegar, McKinney chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

McKinney will launch its first work for Crocs in the spring.

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