Crocs ($NASDAQ:CROX) and KFC ($NYSE:YUM) have more in common than you might think. Mainly, both companies want to be “cool.” They’ve been going after a hipper, younger audience for the past several years. But KFC has built a brand around no-fuss, All-American fast food and Crocs have long been the shoe of gardeners and comfort-seekers, so it’s been an uphill battle.
Last March, KFC sent “DJ Colonel Sanders” to play a short set in between acts at the EDM music festival Ultra. In 2018, Crocs partnered with Balenciaga and debuted a platform version of the classic clog at Paris Fashion Week. Now, the brands have joined forces in their latest attempt at trendiness.
This Spring, Crocs will offer limited-edition fried chicken-patterned clogs in classic and platform. The shoes come with two removable, chicken-scented Jibbitz™ charms that look like drumsticks. Yesterday, Seoul-born artist MLMA debuted the first pair of Kentucky Fried Chicken X Crocs Bucket Clogs while attending New York Fashion Week shows.
But who’s helping who? On Twitter, Crocs has gone up from 57.5k to 87k followers over the past five years. KFC has gone up from 931k to 1.42m. The relative progress is about the same, but KFC is still ahead. KFC gained 20000 followers in just a month last August after a viral Twitter feud between Chik-fil-A and Popeyes. That said, Crocs’ following has grown at increasing rates since 2018, while KFC’s growth rate has slowed.
The brands’ likes on Facebook show a similar trend. KFC has seen a 39% increase since 2015, from 39.5M to 54.9M likes. And while Crocs has only risen to 5.55M likes, the overall growth rate is an impressive 80%. But the percent change has decreased for both Crocs and KFC in recent years.
As indicated on their social media pages, KFC and Crocs are reshaping their brand personalities to relate to their new target audience. KFC is irreverent, a fan of memes and anime. Crocs is fashionable and accepting, with a Twitter banner that reads "Come as you are." So the high fashion route didn’t work out for Crocs, and the EDM bros didn’t take to KFC. Their new collaboration targets left-of-center millennials, a potentially more attainable audience that counts quirky dressers and fried chicken enthusiasts.
"Combining the unmistakable look of our world-famous fried chicken and signature KFC bucket, with the unparalleled comfort and style of Crocs, these shoes are what fried chicken footwear dreams are made of" - Andrea Zahumensky, KFC U.S. CMO.
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