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More Than Shoes Print Campaign

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Hey all - We've gotten tons of coverage about one of the campaigns we're running right now (this campaign is called "More Than Shoes").  In case you haven't seen it, the NY Times ran an article highlighting this campaign http://nyti.ms/nzf1uQ

While overall public sentiment through Twitter, blogs, etc. seems to be very positive, some people have found it offensive. We've had a few customers write in and tell us that our new campaign is all about sex & nudity. Of course, that was not our intention. If you look at the creative (above are the three active executions), you'll see that these are not about sex or nudity for the sake of it.  They're really calling out the fact that Zappos sells more than shoes (this is the primary goal of our brand marketing efforts right now) in a very obvious way. 

We wanted to break through the clutter and feel that we've been able to do that in a fun, creative way. I've also included the actual shots from the photo shoot (below).

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As you can see, these models are not at all naked (not our style, let alone, probably not legal).

To view examples of the other two campaigns we’re running, please see below. 

Inc., more than shoes, New York Times, ny times, zappos ad campaigns, Zappos Development, zappos magazine ads, zappos marketing, Zappos on NY times

Inc., more than shoes, New York Times, ny times, zappos ad campaigns, Zappos Development, zappos magazine ads, zappos marketing, Zappos on NY times

Thank you for reaching out with your thoughts whether they are supportive or otherwise.

Thanks!

Aaron Magness

Sr. Director - Brand Marketing & Business Development

twitter: @macknuttie

Comments

479605569's picture
Jul 13, 2011 at 3:43 am krisseedanger said:

I love it! I think it's quirky and fun and most of all, it's quintessentially Zappos! : ) The ads are obviously non-sexual in nature and play to exactly what we're trying to say: "More than just shoes!" I also love the interactive element that the QR codes provide. Stoked to see more as they are released!

40637426's picture
Jul 13, 2011 at 4:12 am debbiem46105 said:

I am a regular shopper at Zappos. I am disappointed in the ad campaign. I think Zappos should come up with a different ad campaign. I know some won't have a problem with it. I do and will not shop at Zappos again if this is the type of advertising you choose to have.

41395014's picture
Jul 13, 2011 at 4:18 am RandiL60407 said:

SO very disappointed with your new advertising campaign. Women should be honored for more than just the beauty of their nakedness. Being naked is a marvelously beautiful thing...in private. Women should be valued and esteemed as a whole person. Your ads minimize the very qualities that make a woman, a lady. And every women should be treated as such.

40555704's picture
Jul 13, 2011 at 9:52 am BarbaraL60225 said:

Your ad campaign featuring naked women is DISGUSTING, and until you cancel this smutty campaign, I will not buy anything else from Zappos. You are exploiting women.

What fool in Zappo's management thought that your women customers would ever appreciate some male sex fantasy of us running around naked in public? Do you think that sinking to the naked ad level is going to make any woman want to buy anything from you?

I don't want porn. I just want shoes.

Goodbye and good riddance Zappo's! I will give my money to your competitors.

474907219's picture
Jul 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm KarynA16998 said:

I am a female, and I am neither offended or disgusted by the ad campaign. They're cute and fun and THEY DO WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO. The ads are supposed to make you take notice, and remember a brand. And I think that it's a great idea.

For all the people who are offended and disgusted by the mere implication of a naked woman, well I sure feel sorry for them, because they must not have any mirrors in their house nor do they ever get to go to beaches or swimming pools where there are quite often people showing as much skin as there are in the Zappo's ads.

It's really sad that we're so ashamed of nudity that as a society it automatically is equated to sex and porn.

475900319's picture
Jul 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm JanaH60496 said:

When you see the pictures with the swim suits they are not offensive, BUT your intention is the SHOCK effect that the people are actually naked. You even have people in the picture staring at the women which also implies they are naked. I am a mother. I am training my daughter to dress modestly in this age when her piers are dressing anything but. What do you think this ad will say to her? I'm sorry I can't find anything acceptable about these ads.

479614771's picture
Jul 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm LauraL60548 said:

Right it's not that the ads use sex to sell, it's that they objectify women's bodies to sell product. Whether or not it was the intention of the marketing department to exploit women to sell to women, when you use nudity as a springboard for your "interactive QR" campaign, you're casting women as objects.

as a refresher, please see http://www.msmagazine.com/spring2011/nocomment.asp

And thank you for the opportunity to respond

473020470's picture
Jul 13, 2011 at 10:21 pm HilaryW60547 said:

I became a fast fan of the stylish/comfortable shoes on your website and ordered multiple pairs in the past weeks. I was just about to order another pair when my husband mentioned your new ad campaign. After seeing it for myself, I became extremely disappointed. I thought your company was above this smut. The comments by your Senior Director for Brand Marketing & Business Development didn't help. He said "sex & nudity...was not our intention." Unfortunately, the photos suggest otherwise. Your company could have found a better way to say it sells more than shoes.

Until the campaign is removed, I'll use your excellent website to find the shoes I want -- but will purchase them from Amazon for the same price (they also offer free shipping/returns).

474921016's picture
Jul 14, 2011 at 12:10 am iheartzapposdou said:

I'm a woman and I love the ads! I don't feel objectified, I'm not offended, and don't you think you'd stare at someone riding on a scooter in their swimsuit, too?

If you don't like the ads, you have the right to shop anywhere you please. More shoes for me :D

p.s. Amazon bought Zappos.

469602459's picture
Jul 14, 2011 at 4:31 am CheriC60601 said:

Dear Zappos,

Really?! Why?! I am quite disappointed in this ad, I know you are better than this! Please get rid of it!!! ; ( You will lose me as a customer unless this changes and I WILL tell others!

40958436's picture
Jul 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm StephanieC61748 said:

I too, am disappointed in the direction Zappos is going with this AD Campaign. I had shoes in my cart which I will now not purchase. I have been a customer since the very beginning. It is over the top!

466176988's picture
Jul 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm KatrinaP34499 said:

I am humored by the fact that you state that the ads are "not about sex and nudity". The reason someone would do a double take and look at the ad is the fact that the women look naked with a text box placed upon their nudity. Very effective, but, hello! You're using the old tactic that sex sells. You've just lost a loyal customer.

41593380's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 12:15 am HollyP61783 said:

I totally agree with KatrinaP34499!! The pics are not too terrible without the text boxes but with they are digusting. I am a customer of yours no longer!! Who are you selling to-men or women?? Sex does not sell it just makes your company look stupid!!

479722995's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 2:13 am JudyP61797 said:

Making women look like perverse, naked exhibitionists sexually exploits and degrades women. The photographs were certainly doctored and touched up to make the women appear nude. It certainly is a bad joke, to say the least, and not a good advertising campaign. Zappos seems to have one thing on their mind, and it isn't business.

42695853's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 2:35 am angelaw61805 said:

Seriously? People actually shop for shoes because they like cute shoes. It's not because you have a campaign with women who look naked running around town. Very lame and degrading. I'll buy my shoes elsewhere! I'm so sick of all the shock value crap.

479724269's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 3:54 am michellez61814 said:

Remember that movie,oh, what was it called? oh yes, Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Who remembers? yeah, I thought so. everyone remembers. Pretty Julia Roberts became a sex kitten in her role as a prostitute street walker. Compared to this Zappos campaign, Julia Roberts looked like a nun. so Zappos' Senior Director of Brand Marketing adn Development says he looked at these ads through the "lens" of the father that he is, and he found these ads to be tasteful. Holy Moly are you serious? Women parading the streets of metropolitan cities in bikinis is pretty much not cool...it's just not. It's trashy and tasteless. Then put blinder bars on the models so they look naked and this passes the father-test? wow, what a new low we have sunk to. and to hear how many women find this amusing and funky? good gracious. It makes me sad to know our morality and judgement has hit such a low in this country.

479724551's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 4:22 am CarolM61820 said:

Aimee, In response to my letter of disappointment in your new ads you said, "We wanted to break through the clutter and feel that we've been able to do that in a fun, creative way." Give me a break! NUDITY TO GET ATTENTION, shame on you for trying to justify it as fun and creative. I thought I would give you a chance to truly apologize, but since you obviously aren't sorry, I will forward this email to all of my email and facebook friends. You said, "The models were wearing two-piece swim suits in each advertisement." If the models were wearing 2 piece swimsuits in the ad, why didn't you show them? Obviously, it was to advertise nudity and get attention. You also state that "the models are all wearing bikinis as you'd see at any beach or pool", well they weren't at a beach or pool, right? And you didn't even SHOW the bikinis, you purposely made them look naked. I hope for the sake of decency and our future as a respectable civilization, that you LOSE business over this. Because I know MONEY TALKS and if you won't change for decency sake, you WILL change for MONEY SAKE, we all know that!!!

479725871's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 10:25 am CarolR61842 said:

I just received a "personalized" email about my complaint about your ad campaign. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE KIDDING? NOT ABOUT NUDITY? GET REAL! It is exactly about IMPLIED nudity to sell your product.

You may be a "father" but you certainly have tunnel vision.

I'm unimpressed with your attempt to lie about what you are selling -- sexual content.

Extremely bad taste.

42418352's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm KarenT61853 said:

I am so disappointed in Zappos.

This ad campaign is severely tarnishing your image, and your replies to my emails show me that you apparently do not care.

Although it breaks my heart to do so, I will no longer be shopping with you and will encourage everyone I know to do the same.

You are taking a giant leap into mainstreaming pornography in the face of a family-centered audience and are ignoring the sensibilities and wishes of your customers.

What a shame!

479726743's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm HilaryL61855 said:

I cannot quite understand how you, as a father, do not see the absolute lack of modesty in having your models trotting around the city in very skimpy bikinis. Are you really so willing to tell your daughters that it is A-okay to go out in public anywhere other than a swimming pool or at a beach or in the privacy of your own back yard, attired like that??? Is this how you want your wife and daughters to dress?? If it is not, then why would you permit such an ad campaign to get further then you desk? And those test bars??? They shout nudity to me. I was shocked when I saw them and so disappointed at your attempt to defend them as "creative and fun". What is wrong with doing something that is truly "creative and fun" that isn't sexually oriented? Oh wow, what a concept - fun, tasteful and all the family can enjoy.

473435794's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm JesseJ61905 said:

In my own personal opinion, I dont understand the outrage. The women dont appear to be posing seductively or sexually, the tone is light hearted, the ads are appearing in magazines geared towards adult female consumers (that your children would see similar or worse pictures in anyways) and nowhere near childrens publications. They dont appear to be objectifying themselves. In fact the over all message is "this isnt acceptable, so wear clothes".

When did a womens back or midriff become smut? I certainly dont see other ads of women in swimsuits as pornography, or Victoria secret ads as pornography. Zappos sells swimsuits and underwear and features photos of that content on their site anyways.

I my opinion we should all stop projecting our own insecurities and accept the body for what it is. Teach our children our beliefs and trust them to make the right decision. Why get offended over the slightest drop of a hat when its so much easier and more pleasant to laugh.

471913389's picture
Jul 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm JoaquinQ61910 said:

Things like this happen...let's see if this one ever makes it to a business marketing strategy book!

474301724's picture
Jul 23, 2011 at 5:14 am CarlaB26171 said:

JesseJ61905 - Thank you for your "this isnt acceptable, so wear clothes". That is exactly how I see it. :)

Also, the add is very quirky and funny when you really think about it.

479738185's picture
Jul 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm VirginiaA61971 said:

I'm still confused. If you're not highlighting "sex" in your add "more than shoes" then why show women running down a city street with nothing but a bikni on? Isn't that implied!! as sexual?? Did you ask your wife what she thought? How about your daughter's teachers?? What do they think? If your wife & daughters don't go out in the city streets wearing similar out fits, then don't put it out there as if anyone else does! If you don't live in a beach or pool area, I don't believe we would see such "apparel" worn in public. Yes, I agree - wear clothes! Stand up for our children. You sound like a "good" man/father. Someone needs to stop this kind of thing. Some people think that it's ok to keep going in this direction. When does it stop? If they want to look at this kind of stuff, then join the nudist colonies! What do you think the sexual predators think about this? I bet they love it!

466420841's picture
Jul 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm MaryA61985 said:

I am a woman. I am a mother. I have been a faithful customer of Zappos. I do NOT think this ad is appropriate. I will NOT continue to patronize a company that promotes nudity in public as this Zappos ad does.

39112004's picture
Jul 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm MaryA62037 said:

Very dishonest response on the part of Zappos. They way the ads are presented there is a clear intention to present these women as nude. So they hide behind the fact that they weren't really nude. Shame on your cowardice and dishonesty not to just admit you wanted to USE women in a predatory way to sell products.

Then they label the intention to sell products using women's "nude" bodies as "fun". Women have had to suffer from this sexist male idea of 'fun' too long.

I am a long time shopper from Zappos. I have bought things for myself and for all my children. I will never purchase anything again. We are all ex-Zappos customers. There are plenty of places to purchase things without going to a company who thinks in this disgusting way.

I hope all the women and girls who are loved by all these Zappo-sexist ad exec's have not had to experience the damage done by sexist society that Zappos loves.

479757179's picture
Jul 25, 2011 at 12:05 am MelissaR62155 said:

Yes the woman are supposed to LOOK nude...duh! That's why they need to BUY the clothes also featured in the ads. Nudity does NOT equal sex. Zappos has clearly gone out their way for the ads to be non-sexual. (Otherwise the clothing shown would include the underwear and bras they also sell!) I am a 40 year old woman who knows and understands sexism. These ads are NOT sexist or sexual. If that's what you see then YOU have serious issues with woman's & men's bodies. Nudity is NOT "dirty." These ads are FUN. They point out that running is BETTER with running closes designed to keep you dry. Fashionable clothes are FUN ~ since you would not leave your home naked; buy your clothes at the same place you buy your shoes! I hope Zappos.com stil releases the ads they have also created featuring male models that LOOK nude too. Why? Because I know that both men & woman think of Zappos as "Shoes." I have ONLY purchased clothes from them, and EVERYONE I speak to about my purchases had NO idea they sold clothes. I am curious about what the men will be doing, maybe playing basketball? carrying a brief case?....can't wait to see them Zappos.com!

479759999's picture
Jul 25, 2011 at 2:51 am OffendedC62182 said:

Aaron - your comment is interesting that you finished your reply with - "As you can see, these models are not at all naked (not our style, let alone, probably not legal)." Probably??? Seriously?? Why would you think it is appropriate to show someone doing something that would be illegal if they were really doing it? Isn't that a gut check on reasonableness? If it is attention you wanted, it is attention you got!! But not positive attention -- sure, a select few will be supportive of these ads, but as people continue to find out about them - you will find out that your customer is not quite as "weird" as you hoped they would be. Most of us are hard working folks who also work hard for our money and shop at Zappos to make it go farther. Not anymore though...sorry, you lost this Imelda!

479761270's picture
Jul 25, 2011 at 4:25 am DonnaW62190 said:

I agree with the comments about the nudity! Why do companies feel they have to sell their product through sex? It offends me and I do not shop at those companies, so it backfires as far as I am concerned.

466630291's picture
Jul 25, 2011 at 5:14 am Jared8973452 said:

Are you all a bunch of feminists? Have a sense of humor for christs sake! I'm hoping everyone actually saw the outfit next to the picture. If you did not, you also have "tunnel vision." The outfit actually depicts what one would wear during that activity. WOW! These ads are in no way sexual. They are FUN! Stop being close minded.

For all of you complaining mothers: Have you looked at the pictures in an Abercrombie retail store? Do you go to Victoria's Secret? Do you complain to the manager every time you see one or one of their ads? Probably Not.

Zappos is all about their core values.

Create Fun and A Little Weirdness is their number 3 core value. Open your eyes and see the fun and weirdness.

-JK

479770797's picture
Jul 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm CindyT62303 said:

Well, I would not want my daughter running around in 4 inches of material on top and 2-4 inches material on bottom....especially on a motorcycle, running down the sidewalk, or at a stoplight in fact she has such an incredible body, and I respect her so much, I wouldn't want any old or young man indulging in sexual fantasies about her. I am not a feminist, I do not like females exploited and this is not about shoes, it is about selling sex. You have young girls who look up to and aspire to be like what's on TV or in the magazines....there is so much more offered in life when your daughter has brains. Why don't you try ads that aspire children/teenagers/adults to become smart, educated and successful? It would help society a whole lot more...and by the way, still have fun. We won't be buying your products until you clean up your ads. Zappos is zapped from our household.

479759999's picture
Jul 26, 2011 at 3:12 am OffendedC62182 said:

Jared - of course you like them, you are a guy!! The core "value" is to create fun -- not create an ad showing women involved in illegal activity!!!

468953609's picture
Jul 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm EricH62419 said:

If nudity isn't implied, then why did Zappos (the site I formerly did business with) blur out the bikini strap on the woman hailing a taxi?

By the way, I just purchased shoes from Eastbay. I won't be shopping at Zappos again until they withdraw their tasteless and tacky ad.

42604363's picture
Jul 26, 2011 at 9:50 pm RichardC62435 said:

Geez, Americans, as a whole, have become so afraid of everything! Including our own bodies! 20 to 1 this campaign wouldn't rile a single person in Europe.

I'll continue shopping at Zappos.com because they treat me with respect.

466630291's picture
Jul 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm Jared8973452 said:

offendedc....FYI, you are being very stereotypical against me by saying I like them because I'm a guy, just a thought. If you actually look more than skin deep (excuse the pun) in this add. You would see the real meaning. Take off the blinders.

479794550's picture
Jul 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm annw62589 said:

I do not like the ads on yahoo, its a man running across the screen naked. There are young kids as young as five and six that are on line now. Would you give your five or six yr old a porno magizine with naked men in it with just a piece of tape across the privates? What is the difference? When a child sees this, they immagine the same thing that we do. So the dammage is already done. Think about it.

479794550's picture
Jul 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm annw62589 said:

I fully agree with you. It is the same as porn to me.

479794550's picture
Jul 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm annw62589 said:

Its one thing having fun, its another using sex and thinking that it is funny. Only a person with a sick sence of humor would think that that is funny. Victoria secrets was origenally made for a couple in the privacy of thier own bedroom, not for the whole world to see.

479794550's picture
Jul 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm annw62589 said:

People in europe does not have any morals or modisty, and america is almost becoming the same way.

479796352's picture
Jul 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm Karen N.A. said:

Obviously non-sexual???? Please have your eyes checked!

479796352's picture
Jul 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm Karen N.A. said:

It's very hard to believe the feed back has been "very positive" given how this comments are overwhelmingly negative. The ads are indecent and offensive. You definitely have lost customers! We deserve respectful ads!

479796759's picture
Jul 28, 2011 at 3:49 am EM62616 said:

The thing that scares me is not the ad campaign but the barely literate postings of some of the commenters who act like they have never seen a naked body before. Zappos should be commended for featuring different body types, and I'd suggest they feature more variation among the nude women models. I'm mystified as to why some of the commenters here are so afraid of flesh. I'm a lot more dismayed about ads that glamorize violence.

479964678's picture
Aug 9, 2011 at 12:01 am AmberO64624 said:

I am HIGHLY DIGUSTED with this advertising campaign and find it extremely irresponsible and pornographic. The person above's comment is completely unethical. What does seeing a nude body have to do with anything? There are plenty of people who don't want to see it, not to mention responsible or religious parents who don't want their kids to come across that filth.

This is highly unprofessional, irresponsible, distasteful, and immoral.

I am henceforth boycotting all Zappos and Zappos.com products, and will be encouraging everyone I know to do the same.

480112699's picture
Aug 19, 2011 at 5:33 am bondservant4jc said:

Thanks for your response here:

Hello,

Thank you so much for sending along your feedback regarding our recent ad campaign. Tony receives more than 2,000 e-mails a day, and asked me to e-mail you on his behalf so you could receive a timely response. We sincerely apologize if you were offended by one of our current campaigns called "More Than Shoes". The models were wearing two-piece swim suits in each advertisement. Please refer to our blog for more information:

http://blogs.zappos.com/morethanshoesprintcampaign

To better explain the situation, below I have forwarded the response from our Senior Director of Brand Marketing & Business Development, Aaron Magness:

"Thank you for taking the time to email us. We had no intention of offending you (or anyone) with the campaign referenced in recent publications. This is one of three different print campaigns we currently have running. Our goal was to spread the message that Zappos sells more than shoes. Many customers still think of us as a shoe company, so we thought we could be overly obvious in our print campaigns. In the "More Than Shoes" campaign, we have different executions of men & women wearing shoes in various everyday settings (jogging, hailing a taxi, playing Frisbee, riding a scooter, riding a bike, etc) with the message of "More Than Shoes". We didn't use nudity for the sake of nudity, and we hope it's clear that the campaign isn't about sex. In the photo shoots, the models are all wearing bikinis as you'd see at any beach or pool, not pasties and thongs as some have suggested.

Again, I understand that you were offended by the ad and I apologize. As a father myself, I did look at these executions through the lens of a parent. I wanted to be sure that they were tasteful & not about over sexing that you see in so many magazines today. Thank you for your feedback & reaching out so we can continue to learn and grow as a company."

Aaron Magness Sr. Director - Brand Marketing & Business Development

Thank you again for your understanding. Sincerely, The Zappos.com CEO team

--- I appreciate your quick response. But you assumtion is wrong. You assume I think bikinis are fine. I don't think they are fine. I am for modesty. Also with the the bar that you use to cover the models it is assuming nakedness making the imagination to be more intense into thinking the person is naked. So I still stand by my disagreement of the ad. You may think I'm ridiculous, but I think it is done in poor taste and like the saying goes, "Sex Sales." But you don't have to do it that way, I would respect your company more not to. Also, be saying More than shoes in an ad and then show some one half naked doesn't show me that you are more than shoes, it shows that you are trying to get attention in a distasteful way.

480867167's picture
Oct 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm phio77769 said:

I had heard about these Zappo's ads and wanted to know how it was resolved buying my winter boots this year. I was glad to find this post and read so many great comments. As others have said, the problem with the ads is not that the human body is shameful. It's that there's a big power differential in being clothed vs. being naked. The power differential becomes even greater when you put that naked body in a public street. When I see these ads I see a message meant to make male viewers feel powerful. Titillated and amused. Female viewers are meant to feel exploited and vulnerable. Refusing to apologize makes it look like you intend to send this message. It's not 'fun and creative,'it's old and busted. I'll buy local for my shoes this year.