Zappos.com names Mullen creative AOR; online DM to stay in house

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As it strives to create a more holistic marketing plan for next year, Zappos.com has named Mullen its creative AOR, with responsibility for brand development, media buying and creative, including digital advertising. The agency will work closely with King Fish Media, Zappos.com's partner for offline direct marketing.

“A lesson that we've learned over the last few years is that it is time to stop having agencies work in silos and work more collaboratively,” said Michelle Thomas, brand marketing manager at Zappos.com. “A big focus for us in 2010 is to look at a holistic marketing plan to figure out how to use each agency to its fullest capacity to drive our business forward.”

Thomas said Mullen will begin its research and development work for the brand in the next three months and will begin work officially in January.

Mullen, which is part of holding company Interpublic Group, was chosen as part of a formal review process that saw 104 agencies submit proposals. Zappos ultimately narrowed the choice down to three candidates: Draftfcb, CHI & Partners and Mullen.

“Mullen really had the best overall package for what we were looking for,” said Thomas. “Their creative ideas show that they understand and can conceptualize our culture. They have a very robust analytics team, which we were impressed by, and we felt very comfortable with their approach to media buying and brand planning.”

Zappos.com had previously worked with Ad Store and Gotham Direct.

While Mullen will work on digital advertising, the Internet retailer will continue to handle online direct marketing in-house, including e-mail, search, affiliate, comparison shopping engines and SEO.

The appointment of a new creative agency comes at a time when Zappos.com is trying to improve the user experience on its Web site and to build long-term relationships with customers. Over the past few months, it has launched a social shopping site, My.Zappos.com, and introduced personalized product recommendations via ChoiceStream's RealRelevance platform.

The company had $635 million in net sales and $1 billion in gross sales last year. Amazon.com acquired it in July for approximately $928 million.

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