This year, it’s not quite business as usual when it comes to holiday marketing at Zappos. The 20-year-old online retailer, which was acquired by Amazon a decade ago, is planning to run a more creative collaboration as part of a new partnership with HitRecord, the production company founded more than 10 years ago by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The Zappos work is spearheaded by Shelby Stilson, who started at Las Vegas-based Zappos as an intern five years ago but rose through the ranks to recently become CEO of 1% of the business, an experiment where he uses 1 percent of Zappos’ resources as he sees fit. His 1 percent is the part of the online retailer that works with HitRecord, an online community of creators who collaborate on offerings like songs, videos and books.
HitRecord is different than a creative agency and different than a contest, Gordon-Levitt explained during a speaking session with Stilson at Advertising Week. “At HitRecord, people make things together and collaborate,” he said.
For Zappos, some of those creations include a mixtape, a series of documentaries and a redesigned shipping box that goes beyond the brand’s traditional blank white.
“We’re redefining what we can do with our brand,” said Stilson.
HitRecord will also work on a collaboration for Zappos’ holiday marketing this year. The push will include stories about the holiday traditions of people around the globe.
Instead of telling its own brand story as a marketing push to customers, Zappos wants “customers to just talk about themselves,” Stilson said. “This is their story, their time with families normally—let’s hear from them.”
Zappos will run other marketing as well from the other 99 percent of the company, but the site will focus on HitRecord’s holiday stories throughout the fourth quarter, Stilson says.