Lilly King, U.S. Olympic Swimmer, Fronts New Crocs Campaign

Unconquered's take on a die-hard Crocs fan

Few shoes are as useful poolside as Crocs. And now, champion swimmer Lilly King is declaring her love for the brand—and yes, she really is a die-hard fan—in a campaign from agency Unconquered.

King, 24, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, 11-time world champion, and the women's world and American record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke, is known for wearing Crocs in her professional and personal life. So, Crocs decided to do a case study of King's life. Over a four-week period, fans can learn about how King rocks Crocs on and off an Olympic podium—in a campaign themed "Come as You Are."

Here's one of the first content pieces: "A Day in the Life in Lilly King's Crocs."

"Crocs was looking to insert the brand into a timely conversation in a relevant, authentic way. They wanted to showcase how Lilly incorporates her Crocs into her personal and professional life, and how she represents Crocs' brand mantra of, 'Come As You Are,' which encourages individuality and self-expression," says Jonathan Hanson, co-founder and chief creative officer at Unconquered.

The creative brief was very open-ended. "They invited us to create something we would be proud to showcase that incorporated Crocs superfan Lilly King and her love of Crocs in and out of the water as she embarks on her training/road to gold," says Hanson. "We were given a lot of freedom to dive into Lilly's role as an athlete—her training schedule, dedication to her craft, and Lilly as a down-to-earth, self-proclaimed 'regular girl' with an easy-going and free-spirited personality."

In Tokyo, King will try to become the first woman ever to win the 100-meter breaststroke in successive Olympics. Indeed, her free spirit has already been evident in the lead-up to the Games. But Hanson says this isn't an Olympic campaign in the traditional sense.

"This campaign is not Olympic advertising, but rather designed to tell the story of an avid Crocs fan—and now ambassador—who happens to be competing in the Games," he says. "Crocs has crafted several celebrity and ambassador campaigns, but this one is unique in that it features not only an elite athlete, but also tells a long-format, four-part docu-style story."

It's certainly an authentic story. Lilly has been a Crocs fan since she was 7, and is known for wearing her Crocs on the pool deck and to the blocks since she was a junior swimmer. W Partners, Lilly's management team, reached out to Crocs to create the partnership.

"Her love of the brand runs deep—her Crocs collection has expanded over the years. Pair that with the personality she brings to the sport, embodying Crocs' 'Come as You Are' mentality, and she's such an authentic ambassador for the brand," says Hanson

The filming process was a really humbling experience, he adds.

"We filmed the series over two days in Evansville and Bloomington, Indiana," says Handon. "Lilly trains at Indiana University twice a day, so we spent hours watching her swim, which was a real treat. Our camera operator tried to keep pace with her in the pool and it was such a humbling experience for all of us."
 
He adds: "Her coaches and team were all very welcoming and respectful of what we were trying to make, which set us up for success. Lilly was fantastic to work with and opened herself up, not only giving us lots of time, but showing us a candid look into her life."

One of Hanson's favorite moments was when the crew visited her hometown and went to her favorite donut shop. "Everyone knew who she was and the owner came out to meet her and get an autograph," he says. "We could see how much she means to the community and how they look up to her."

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Maria Tsangarakis
Maria Tsangarakis is interning with Muse. She comes to us from the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University. She is a double major in advertising and communications and social influence with a minor in psychology. During her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking and spending time with her family and friends.

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