Zappos Ads Star Quirky-But-True Customer-Service Stories

Zappos, the online apparel retailer that has long prided itself on over-the-top customer service, has rounded up three of its best true stories for a new video ad campaign.

In Ballet Shoes, a stunning but stubborn prima ballerina gives dad a lot of trouble. In Jewelry Returns, a hapless husband manages to reverse one of the most expensive mistakes he ever made. And in Yoga Pantsa couple of jealous boyfriends get a better workout than they bargained for.  

The videos, from agency Praytell, cost Zappos $220,000 to make, and are running primarily in digital channels.



“We are absolutely obsessed with our customers, and every so often, the customer loyalty team will send around an email with some kind of amazing story,” says Meredith Katz, senior marketing analyst with the Las Vegas, Nev.-based e-commerce site. “We decided we wanted to design a campaign all about them,” she tells Marketing Daily, winnowing hundreds of possibilities down to the three winners. “That was tough, but we are really proud of these three stories.”

And that won’t be all, she says. While the videos just began running, response has already been so strong that it’s building a landing page to help collect it.

It’s not the first time Zappos has used true stories for ad inspiration: Back in 2010, it ran a charming campaign from Mullen Lowe, with puppets acting out the stories. Nor is it alone in using a “true tales from the customer service crypt” approach to storytelling, with Farmers Insurance’s long-running “Hall of Claims” campaign.

But Katz says this effort, targeting both existing and potential customers, gets across “the magic of Zappos, and shows that we are a service company, and so much more than an online retailer.”

Zappos is owned by Amazon, which also just introduced a new ad campaign, a light-hearted singalong focused on gift-giving.

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