Shedding Crocodile tears…

File this under what goes up must come down: Crocs are going extinct! It seems only last year everyone was buying, talking about and otherwise going gaga over these colorful, indestructible, waterproof shoes.

Not anymore. According to the Chicago Tribune, Crocs lost almost $200 million last year and slashed roughly 2,000 jobs. They have until September to pay off their considerable debt. Otherwise they’re “toast,” said a fund manager quoted in the Tribune.

Crocs were born in a boom, with an eye-catching look and a cute 21st century story to boot. According to the Trib, a group of friends in Boulder got hold of some funky foam formula from Canada and created a water-sports shoe they named Beach. A cult following quickly developed, one thing lead to another, and the next thing you know old Jed’s a millionaire!

What happened? Well, I guess the downside of indestructible shoes is that you never have to buy new ones. Huge planning costs incurred just prior to the recession also hurt the company.

Regardless, I am always bewildered by these stories: People, places and things that reach the highest highs only to plumb the deepest depths. Krispy Kreme Donuts. Cabbage Patch Dolls. Hootie and the Blowfish. And now Crocs. Why are their stories so transient while other successes stay red-hot? Apple computers, Starbucks and Bruce Springsteen keep on keeping on. Sure, they have down periods (Starbucks is in the midst of one now) but they’ll be back, maybe stronger than ever.

Last month I wrote that maintaining relevance is a key driver to sustainability. Brands do this via new products, new uses, and new communications.

Still, Crocs was implementing these strategies and none of it worked. Krispy Kreme tried every flavor under the sun and still their stock price tumbled, stores closed, people were let go.

So, what differentiates trend (Crocs) from juggernaut (Nike)? In hindsight, it’s easy to come up with notions. But how does one tell at the onset? Unlike many extinct dot-coms, Crocs presumably had a secure business plan. My kids all own pairs and still wear them now. You’d think cheap, indestructible children’s shoes would be surging during this “soul” crushing recession. The enigmatic and fickle marketplace. Something to think about while walking your pet rock.

Another trend: Twitter!

Crocs and their widgets

Crocs and their widgets

As you may have noticed (or not), my blog has no glittery affectations on it. There is no Twitter feed or feeds of any kind, no AdAge ranking, or Google search. Besides a few links at the very bottom, I haven’t got an ad for any people, places or things. I roll sans widgets, with only my guardian angel (call him David, after the character in my novel), now biding his time as a logo.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been tempted to load my margins with nifty doodads. I see all the various badges and whatnots my daughters have crammed into their Crocs. I imagine how put together my blog would look filled up with links and portals. Lord knows my ego is dying to know what my Power Ranking is.

Yet I resist the temptation and, for the life of me, I don’t know why. If I’m not mistaken the more one attaches to his blog the more ways people can get to it. One practical reason I refrain from accessorizing my blog is that the appearance format I chose from WordPress (Ambiru) happens not to allow ornaments and advertising. Maybe they permit some but my few flirtations with the dashboard manager have indicated otherwise. Sigh.

Of course I could choose another theme. It’s not hard to do. But I like the one I’ve got. Do you, Gentle Reader, like the one I’ve got? After all, if you’re cool with it why should I even care?

One reason would be to get more people to visit Gods of Advertising. The shiny doodads promise to make that happen.

Or not. Somewhat irrationally, I worry that if I go commercial many of you will become annoyed and move on. (We do tell our clients to keep it clean. Should not the same standard apply to me?) I suppose I’m naïve enough to believe if I want more readers I need only write better posts. Foolish, I know. But such is the debate in my head.

So, Ambiru, I guess it’s you and me baby. 4EVA. By the way, WordPress claims this theme was created by a character named Phu Ly, a developer in London. I guess if it’s good enough for Phu it’s good enough for you. (Ugh, Sorry.)

The Gods of Advertising have spoken…for now.