"He's wearing the Vermont costume," Scott Radcliffe, the marketing director at Birkenstock Distribution USA, said of Mr. Macy's character. Mr. Radcliffe said that the "Birkenstock-wearing, granola-crunching, Volvo-driving fill-in-the blank stereotype" emerged in the broader culture without any doing on the company's part. The company finds it entertaining, he said, that the sandals have reached the kind of status that qualifies them for movie close-ups, even disparaging ones.Ha. It's nice that there are products with so much excess meaning. Too bad I can't think of any offhand. Maybe you can come up with some in the comments. Ever just like a product, but then feel funny about using it because you didn't identify with the extra meaning? Ever not really like a product, but use it anyway because you did?
"To me a Birkenstock fan looks at that, laughs and is not alienated," he said....
"[They] feel like they're part of something bigger than most other shoe choices, frankly."
"After all," Mr. Radcliffe continued, "the brand's strong point is its power to elicit both positive and negative reactions. That speaks to the bigger cultural relevance of the brand. That's something I want to participate in. That's not something I'm trying to shake."
March 12, 2006
Birkenstocks! It's so easy to use them as a visual joke, as in the new film "Thank You For Smoking," where we see them on the feet of the antismoking environmentalist played by William H. Macy.