This summer, we let a very important internet anniversary pass us by without any fanfare: This June marked two years since the infamous “What are those?” meme really took off. But Joey Gatto, a popular Vine and YouTube maker, made up for this by revisiting his biggest video hit with his co-star and grandmother, Jane.
My grandma from the "they are my crocs" vine watches her viral vine for the first time in 2 years and reflects on her life after fame. pic.twitter.com/qyOADOwY9h
— Joey (@JoeyGatto) October 8, 2017
Though they weren’t the originators of the footwear-focused meme, Grandma Jane and her Crocs earned Gatto 50 million Vine loops, and, according to his estimates, about 150 million views on other platforms. The Iowa grandmother had no idea what she was in for when they made the video, but it seems like she gets a big kick out of her internet fame.
“I didn’t know it was going to go like this,” Jane tells Yahoo Style via email. “I thought it was just a funny picture.”
Jane is particularly pleased when fans say they love her laugh. You can hear that infectious sound again in the video Gatto posted of them watching the Vine together earlier this month.
“Can you walk around the mall anymore? Do people just stop you left and right?” Gatto asks her in the video.
“Yes, they do,” she answers, gamely.
Terence Reilly, chief marketing officer at Crocs, certainly knows who Grandma Jane is. When Gatto posted about the anniversary this year, the company repaid her for her generous endorsement of the rubber clogs with a surprise gift.
I don't want to see any more crocs slander after they hooked my grandma up with CUSTOM crocs! She's stuntin so hard now! pic.twitter.com/UpiZRqcOo8
— Joey (@JoeyGatto) October 22, 2017
“We often like to surprise and delight our biggest fans and followers on social media, and nobody is a bigger Crocs advocate than Grandma Jane,” Reilly tells Yahoo Style via email. “As of this week, Grandma Jane can continue to rock the Crocs as the proud owner of our Classic White Clog, Classic Purple Clog and Bistro Graphic Clog adorned with flames. We thought the latter fit her fiery personality.”
That gesture was enough to make Gatto a fan too.
“I can say that Joey from a few years ago was not a fan of Crocs,” he tells Yahoo. “Now, after they sent my grandma such a thoughtful gift, I have become a believer.”
Though Jane thinks everyone should be onboard with such comfortable footwear, she likens the divisive nature of Crocs to a famous shoe from her youth. “Saddle shoes — young people loved to wear them to Buddy Holly dances and things like that, but the older generation was not a fan of saddle shoes,” she said.
Gatto, who gained popularity as part of the Youtube collective the Settle Down Kids, is now a computer science major in college. In the two years since that Vine, he’s recorded music and recently started a NSFW math channel, but nothing has ever compared with the success of his “What are those?” video.
“Our relationship is great,” Gatto says of his bond with his grandmother. “Unfortunately, I only get to see her every year or so, as she lives in Iowa and I am in New Jersey. When we are together, though, we have always had a very special connection.”
Crocs were in the news lately when two high-fashion brands, Balenciaga and Christopher Kane, sent their takes of the shoes down the runway. That doesn’t mean the company is abandoning its less-fashion-conscious customers, however.
“From fashionistas to athletes, moms to high school students and even Grandma Jane, our fans across the globe are all comfortable in their own shoes,” Reilly says.
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