Graphis magazine has honored D/C’s campaign for Sanita, the original Danish clog, with a gold award in its 2011 “100 Best in Advertising” annual. Founded in Zurich in 1944, Graphis is one of the world’s most influential graphic arts publications. The competition was judged by a prestigious international jury whose US contingent included Rich Silverstein. All of which ain’t exactly chopped liver, a D/C spokesperson was heard to remark.
The manufacturers of the original Danish clog, Sanita, have been making shoes for the US market for years. But now they’ve decided to sell them under their own brand. As part of a complete re-branding, we created print ads, POS, banners, social media outreach and a new website. And as part of that process, D/C discovered that the brand’s essence was the wonderfully difficult-to-pronounce, echt-Danish concept of “hygge.” It’s kind of like comfort, but so much more. You really need a Dane to explain. (Click the image above to cue web video.)
Smart money says go to Denmark in July. But when smart money zigs, we zag. So, in January, Andy, Anne and I pack our bags full of clothes only a Californian could possibly believe were suitable for a Scandinavian winter and board a Lufthansa red-eye for Copenhagen.
When we touch down at Roskilde Airport, it’s -8°C (which the driver assures me is balmy). But huddled outside our hotel, with a biting breeze blowing off the Baltic, it feels like -80°C. It’s a special brand of cold this reporter has never experienced. Bitter cold. Relentless cold. Penguin-killing cold. Cold that smacks you in the face with one hand, while snaking up your pants to flash-freeze your junk with the other. Why exactly are we here again?
If you had told me four months ago that I’d soon be hurtling across the middle of Denmark in a high-speed train wearing a pair of clogs, I would have said you were high.
But here I am, in seat 26 of the IC121 train, speeding across the snow-covered countryside on my way to a meeting in Herning, Denmark. And the weirdest part is that I am actually wearing clogs. Not the old-timey wood clogs worn to repair a hole in some errant dike. No, I’m wearing a pair of slick black Sanitas – the original Danish clog, made here since 1907. They are quite comfortable and actually quite cool looking – a two-tone sole and steel toe ensure they are sufficiently butch for my idiom. At a glance, they sort of look like boots. But trust me, they’re clogs.
So how, pray tell, did I end up in this unlikely predicament? Interesting story (to me, at least). A few months ago, I was contacted by a friend and former client who had recently assumed the role of CEO at Sanita USA. We’d worked together before on another European shoe brand — 50 cents if you can guess which one — and after a brief discussion of the situation, he and I came to the conclusion that Sanita needed an entire brand overhaul. He subsequently engaged our services and off we went.
For me — a shoe lover, but never a clog-wearer — the biggest challenge of the whole endeavor was to grok what this clog thing is all about. My wife has been a fan for years, but something has kept me away. They look great on women. On men, I’m not so sure. Maybe on a chef or a surgeon. Maybe. But being neither, I was not interested. Still, when it comes to shoes, as you know, my curiosity is sure to get the better of me — especially if there is a discount involved. So, in an effort to better understand the brand, I agreed to try them out. I sorted through the styles and finally settled on the manliest pair I could find — the Leo steel-toe.
I find them quite comfortable, especially for standing — which I guess explains the chef and surgeon thing. I’m not too keen on long walks in them yet, but who knows, maybe after they break in a bit more. The biggest challenge is that the height of the sole makes them dangerous for the clog neophyte. I have literally fallen off the heels several times, and I feel it’s only dumb luck that has kept me from badly spraining my ankle. However, I’m confident this is a temporary risk, suffered by only the greenest clog rookies, and will soon be overcome. The positive side of standing atop a 2” heel is that for a guy who stands 5’11” on a good day, even on a bad day I’m over 6 feet tall with these puppies on. Pretty cool. The other obvious benefit is that they are quite impervious to almost all forms of animal droppings — at least ones we are likely to encounter in our daily travels in the good old US of A. Having seen wild elephant poop in Africa, I’m not sure they’d survive that encounter unscathed. But that’s a story for another time. Anyway, all things being equal, I’m quite enjoying this new shoe adventure.
Weirdly, I haven’t seen a lot of clogs on Danes since I’ve been here. Maybe it’s like Corona in Mexico — only for the turistas. Either way, I’m feeling good – about my feet and about being in Denmark, a beautiful and unique place, where the people are as friendly as can be and they all speak perfect English. (Details from our Danish adventures will appear in the next post of Tripping on this very website.)
And now the sales pitch: if you think you might be interested in your own pair of Sanita clogs, why not help a friend and his agency out by visiting your local clog retailer? Or after February 12th, stop by sanitaclogs.com for a browse.