Zappos Using Nudes in New Ad Campaign

Bob Johnson

LAS VEGAS – Online retail giant Zappos is featuring nude women in public in a new advertising campaign.

The new ads — created by Mullen advertising, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies —  are designed to highlight the company's growing apparel sector and appeal to fashion conscious, heavy consumers of online media.

The campaign will include print and digital ads, and include video and QR codes.

According to the New York Times, the ads show nude women jogging, hailing cabs, running and playing Frisbee in and around Manhattan.

The ads will begin running in the August issues of magazines like Lucky, InStyle, Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar.

Zappos is banking on consumers looking at the ads long enough to scan the QR codes on their smartphones that then brings them to a website showing a video of what happens to the naked women in the ads.

Users can also select outfits for the model and buy the items.

Tim Vaccarino, group creative director at Mullen told the Times, "Zappos has a quirky culture. Doing something typical is not really them."

Zappo’s marketing brain trust said the “literal” idea was to show naked people who need to be clothed.

“Sometimes advertisers try to do something very creative and the messaging gets lost,” said Michelle Thomas, Zappos’ senior brand marketing manager.

She added, “Zappos has a belief that really, we can sell anything.”

Unlike most fashion ads, the nudes are not typical model types. Vaccarino said they feature “the shapes and curves of many, many people.”

Zappos is also planning on including a naked male character — Arthur — in an interactive campaign on the home page of a major search engine by the end of July.  Users will be asked to help dress him while he redirects them to the Zappos website.