Crocs to Include Escalator Warning

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Ten months ago I wrote about the media’s bandwagon smack on Crocs (Man Bites Croc(s)), those rubber garden shoes people love to hate. It’s a great case study in how a brand can get memed out of existence without a proactive response to bad news. Without a response to PRNewser from the internal PR person at Crocs or their AoR, it’s hard for us to say if they faltered in their approach, or didn’t react at all.

Though their statement today resulted in well-positioned articles in the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, the stock price is telling: Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) is trading at about $10 bucks today versus $57 at the time of our first post.

They’re in a tough spot. Denver PR blog attempts to paraphrase what’s inside the head of the internal PR people Tia Mattson and Shelley Forslund, “with a cartoon bubble that says, ‘Inattentive parents: Give us a @#&! break and don’t let your kids shove their feet into the teeth of a moving escalator.”

Full text of the statement about escalator safety awareness is after the jump:


Crocs, Inc. Launches Escalator Safety Awareness Initiative

Niwot, Colo. — July 22, 2008 — Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) today announced plans to launch an escalator safety awareness initiative over the course of the next year. The first steps will include the addition of consumer education messages regarding escalator safety to hang tags on Crocs shoes sold worldwide as well as supporting organizations that further the cause of safe escalator maintenance and use.

Hang tags with educational escalator safety messages will begin to appear on Crocs shoes sold through Crocs retailers and company-owned outlets, including its online store within the next few months. The company plans to have the educational hangtag fully implemented by the rollout of its Spring 2009 line.

Existing hang tags affixed to Crocs shoes already explain how to care for and clean Crocs footwear, and also provide information on the company’s SolesUnited SM shoe recycling and donation program (http://www.solesunited.com/.) New language added to the hang tags reminds consumers to use care when riding escalators and moving walkways, while providing these specific tips:

–Stand facing forward in the center of the step
–Step on and off carefully
–Do not touch sides below handrail
–Avoid the sides of the steps where shoe entrapment can occur
–Supervise children at all times

“Consumer safety is very important to us,” said Ron Snyder, President and CEO of Crocs, Inc. “Escalator entrapments have occurred for more than 40 years, far longer than Crocs has been in business, and these accidents often are preventable. Because the Crocs brand is so visible and so popular around the world, we have an opportunity to reach millions of consumers of all ages, including parents, with educational messages that will help draw attention to this important issue.”

Although tens of millions of pairs of Crocs shoes have been sold in the United States during the past five years, an analysis of nationwide safety data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, conducted by Crocs, shows there has been no corresponding increase in the frequency of escalator shoe entrapment injuries.

Industry experts believe many entrapments can be easily prevented by implementing safety requirements in the area of escalator design and maintenance. For instance, as has been documented in testing done by others, including the CPSC, shoe and foot entrapments can be prevented by proper routine escalator maintenance, including periodic lubrication of escalator side panels with silicone or other lubricants.

Additionally, industry experts such as Joseph Stabler, a St. Louis-based escalator inspector and consultant, believe entrapments would be greatly reduced by requiring utilization of existing safety technology. “A number of escalator entrapments occur at the side of the step,” Stabler said. “These can be dramatically reduced by requiring the installation of step safety sideplates. Some escalators already utilize step safety sideplate technology so it’s something that simply would need to be implemented as a matter of course.”

Therefore, one of the future goals of this initiative is to push for changes in elevator/escalator safety code regulations regarding the design, installation and maintenance of escalators. Crocs hopes to work with or support organizations that share this important safety objective. Any organizations fitting this description can contact Crocs at publicrelations@crocs.com for further information.

Crocs is hopeful its efforts in this area will help further the cause of escalator safety and ultimately reduce the number of escalator entrapments around the world.