Zappos starts PR agency search, hires VaynerMedia for social media

HENDERSON, NV: Online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos has issued an RFP for a PR AOR. The company also selected VaynerMedia as its first social media agency.

HENDERSON, NV: Online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos has issued an RFP for a PR AOR. The company also selected VaynerMedia as its first social media agency.

Zappos is looking for a PR agency to raise awareness of all the company's offerings, said brand marketing manager Michelle Thomas.

“Where we're at as a company right now is we're still pigeon-holed as an online shoe retailer,” she explained. “Through this RFP, we're hoping to leverage an agency that can help us change perceptions and focus on our clothing offering.”

Kel & Partners has served as Zappos' AOR since 2008, Thomas said.

The winning agency will mostly handle consumer PR, but some b-to-b work may also come into play, she added.

“Culture is such a big story for us, focusing on the service proposition that we as a company are known for,” Thomas said. “So also [the agency will be] elevating and taking those stories to the next level to really create likeability and favorability for Zappos.”

Thomas added that since PR and social media blend together, the selected agency will collaborate with VaynerMedia on some social initiatives.

VaynerMedia's primary responsibilities include assisting Zappos with community management and working closely with the company's in-house team on social offerings and initiatives, she said. Vayner representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Zappos just launched ten Pinterest boards, Thomas said, featuring “specific product verticals” such as couture, fashion, and running.

Kel Kelly, founder and CEO of Kel & Partners, said her agency resigned the account on April 13, but declined to give further details.

"I love the Zappos brand, and I love the Zappos people,” she said. “We've agreed to stay on board until they feel they've got the right agency in place so that the transition goes smoothly.”

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