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Special Project

Special Project
From the 1st Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Zappos: #ImNotABox Campaign

Winner in Consumer Brand, Retail & E-Commerce

Entered in Hashtag, Video



Every Zappos box has a unique story and purpose to each of our customers--whether they're shopping for their baby's first shoes, their own first marathon sneakers, or their first date outfit. The box is our way of being there for our customers wherever they are in life. Because we are an online retailer, our box is one of the most important and only guaranteed touch points that we have with each of our customers.

So we asked could we turn our box into a creative experience to engage with our customers? How can we show our customers that we genuinely believe our box does so much more beyond the duty of delivering great product? How can we get customers to then take this philosophy and apply it to themselves?


The #ImNotABox campaign is all about inspiring you to see not just the Zappos box...but yourself and the world with a new perspective. We want you to open up and look inside. We want you in the end to join us and say, #ImNotABox.

Above all, we want to remind the world that we have two priorities at Zappos outside of our heart for online retail: our customers and great service.

Strategy and Execution


To kick off the campaign, we wanted to create a video capturing the single-minded message that Zappos sees every box as a unique story. Partnering with creative collective, Variable, we were able to produce Box Home to introduce the voice of our #ImNotABox campaign. This video aired on YouTube as an online ad and on cable networks in limited cities.

Determined to help fill a homeless man's need for comfort, an innocent, young boy builds an innovative home with a Zappos box, the kitchen plant, and other household items. Even the smallest gestures of kindness (with a little outside-of-the-box-thinking) remind us that we can have the greatest impact on others.

What story will your box tell?


We then focused on developing the physical and literal manifestation of #ImNotABox. We created a limited amount of special edition boxes with an entirely new packaging design concept. The new box not only brings our customers the products they need and love, but it also includes a collection of templates including, but not limited to, a smartphone holder, a children's shoe measure, a geometric planter, and a 3D llama. Customers not only are able to reuse their boxes in a range of unique ways, but they are also inspired to channel their creativity and to literally...think outside of the box.


Why stop with the box re-design when we can keep creating? We continue to provide customers with a variety of DIY tutorials for other cardboard activities on our campaign site and blog. We kept our customers engaged with fun ideas such as a speedy cardboard car, a reversible musical-drum waste-not basket, a watch and, of course, a number of cat toys (because we all know how cats have a cardboard fetish).


Next was our customers' turn! We asked them to show us what they can make out of their own cardboard boxes. And my, oh my, were we blown away! Everything from shoes to cat beds to time machines for their little kiddos...our customers proved that they have wild imaginations.

We were happy to see them find both fun and practical ways to re-purpose their once-ordinary cardboard boxes…something that we all have lying around in today's online shopping world.


Because we had so much fun letting our campaign manifest itself through various mediums, we decided to push the boundary even further! We are currently building a "secret society" within the campaign followers.

Hint: There may be something hidden on the limited edition box that provides customers an entry method. Shh!

Without giving too much away, we can say that we will equip them with trinkets, riddles, and more to show them that they are not just a customer and far more than a "box".


Success and still going! Because we took the risk to go with a non-retail focused campaign, we were unsure how this would resonate with our customers. To our surprise, we were absolutely humbled to see the positive buzz surrounding the launch. The online video reached over 113K views in a short month and earned 123 likes (compared to our channel's average view count being around 2K). The video also climbed to #7 in Ace Metrix's cart of Top Breakthrough Ads of Q2 2016.

Adding to the video success was the box re-design. We were excited to see that this part of the campaign disrupted the packaging industry. Over 31 articles have been written in a number of accredited publications over the last 4 months, yielding a reach of approximately 27.5 million impressions overall.

Engagement and feedback continues to build around the campaign over email and social media as we continue to measure and gauge the campaign's success.


Video for Zappos: #ImNotABox Campaign

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Zappos THINK, Variable


Entry Credits