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Zappos bridges social, mail to champion out-of-the-box thinking

Zappos is attempting to fuse its customer service-centric mantra and out-of-the-box culture with the #ImNotABox campaign, which includes a two-minute short film viewable on social media as well as a special-edition delivery box that can be transformed into several objects, such as a smartphone holder.

The online retailer is bringing a mobile spin to the marketing campaign, which shines a positive light on abstract thinking and local service initiatives through a video viewable on Zappos? social media and YouTube channels. As more brands work to publicly emphasize their corporate social responsibility efforts, taking innovative content to mobile platforms could be one of the best audience-reaching methods.

?Social is another way to reach our customers and encourage that out-of-the-box thinking,? said Kelly Smith of Zappos THINK, an in-house experiential campaign team at ?An abbreviated version of the video will also air on cable TV in select cities, but sharing it across social allows for more consumers to view it.

?And hopefully that means more people will be inspired to open up and look inside, ultimately seeing the world with a new perspective.?

Fusing together two initiatives
Consumers can visit Zappos? YouTube channel or social media accounts to view its short film, titled ?Box Home,? which features a young boy showing compassion to a homeless man by creating a makeshift shelter home for him with various household materials.

Zappos and its production partner, Variable, developed the film to shift viewers? attention away from material goods ? such as apparel and shoes ? and encourage them to look within the Zappos box as well as themselves.

Zappos is hoping to emphasize that each of its boxes maintains a unique purpose and story, which can be leveraged to further an individual?s desire to make a difference in his or her community. The campaign?s end goal is for consumers to think outside the box before proclaiming ?I?m not a box.?

The online retailer has also developed a mobile-optimized microsite for the campaign, accessible at There, individuals can take the #ImNotABox pledge and access a variety of related content, including how to transform Zappos? new delivery boxes into various inventions.

To coincide with the campaign, Zappos will ship a limited amount of new delivery boxes to customers beginning June 1. The white boxes will include a collection of template designs educating consumers on how to concoct several new items from the cardboard, such as a smartphone holder, a 3D llama and a children?s shoe sizer.

This way, shoppers can reuse their boxes and potentially become inspired to channel their creativity into a local service initiative.

?We hope consumers will be excited to utilize all of the fun, quirky out-of-the-box templates!? Ms. Smith said. ?This is the first time we?ve offered a special edition box that can be repurposed and used in a range of unique ways.

?Plus it's another way for customers to experience our commitment to service. We can?t wait to see how our consumers react and the templates they gravitate toward!?

Mobile at the forefront
Zappos prefers to keep mobile at the forefront of all of its marketing strategies, underscoring the importance of retailers serving relevant content to customers on the platforms they frequent the most.

A Zappos executive at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2016 discussed the online retailer?s focus on personalization through mobile platforms, a strategy that prompts loyal customers to leave product reviews and interact with the brand on social media, in turn fueling app retention (see story).

?Our customers have high standards for their mobile experiences and customization on mobile is a priority for the brand,? Ms. Smith said. ?To provide an optimal customer experience on mobile, we work closely with our call center and listen and gather information about our consumers? experiences and how best to drive mobile engagement.

?With marketing campaigns at Zappos, we work closely with internal teams across the company to tailor content for each platform and ensure we?re leveraging mobile.?