September 28, 2006
Product Naming: The Devil Wears Prada; We Like Crocs
CNN Money has a great article on the rising popularity of the strange-looking shoes called Crocs, which are also an interesting example of product naming.
The name for these pretty ugly shoes comes from the creator, Lyndon "Duke" Hanson, who claims they, like their namesake, are “good on both land and water, live a long time, and have no natural predators.” Plus, when you look at a green Croc from the side it looks just like a crocodile.
Movie stars love them, as do people from every walk of life from yuppies to outdoorsmen. The brand name’s success would make a crocodile smile: in 2003 they sold 76,000 pairs to the tune of $1.2 million. The forecast is for sales of 20 million pairs in 2006, which would gross $300 million.
Crocs are eminently comfortable, lightweight and sweat proof. They are examples that pop up now and again of really ugly, comfy shoes that capture the market for a time before slithering away: think Uggs, Birkenstocks, Jellies and Earth Shoes, all of which are profiled in the CNN Money article, and all of which are truly weird examples of shoe naming.
I may be rushing to judgment, however: the mysterious writer at Searchblog finds them beautiful. On that note, Crocs are also one of the most blogged about shoes in history. There’s the Croc Shoes Fans blog and the Cute Crocs blog just for starters.
As Tim Manners of the Reveries Magazine blog points out, the inventors of Crocs (Scott Seamans, George Boedecker, and Hanson) have “created their own category of footwear,” which is known as “ugly but comfortable,” and despite the clear faddishness of the shoes and the name, they have extended the brand name to sandals, slippers and boots as well as knee pads, t-shorts, and, interestingly enough, therapeutic Crocs Rx Shoes, as well as sponsoring a beach volleyball tour.
At $30 a throw they’re a bargain and you can even put them in the dishwasher, dryer and microwave.
Try that with a pair of Pradas.
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