Mullen expands its work with Zappos to PR

Online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos has expanded the duties of Mullen, its creative and media buying firm since 2009, to cover PR. It previously worked with Kel & Partners.

LAS VEGAS: Online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos has selected Mullen’s PR unit to serve as its communications AOR following a competitive review.

The firm has worked with Zappos on advertising and media buying since 2009.

Mullen’s PR team consists of 35 staffers, who also work on experiential and social media efforts, said Kelly Burke, SVP and group account director at Mullen.

Catherine Cook, PR manager at Zappos, said the Mullen team "is bringing a wealth of knowledge to in the fashion, influencer, and experiential spaces, and their passion and enthusiasm for the brand is unparalleled."

She added in an emailed statement that Mullen’s team "embodies the spirit and core values of Zappos."

Prior to bringing on Mullen, Zappos worked with Kel & Partners, which served as the brand’s AOR since 2008. Representatives from Kel & Partners did not respond to inquiries seeking comment.

Mullen, which was hired earlier this month, is working on the "four Cs" for Zappos: clothing, community, customer service, and culture, explained Burke.

For the clothing-focused part of the account, the agency, with a core team of six staffers on the business, will focus on increasing awareness of the breadth and depth of Zappos’ product offerings. The firm will work to engage traditional media outlets, as well as the "big hitters in fashion," said Burke.

In addition to winning the PR account in March, Mullen was tasked with handling experiential projects for the brand in recent months, such as a carousel baggage claim game the day before Thanksgiving of last year at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Burke said the firm hopes to continue growing that part of the account. Budget information for the business was not disclosed.

Burke noted that communications, which is the "unsung hero of Mullen to a certain degree," has long been a practice at the firm. Other PR clients include real-estate company Century 21, Olympus, Capital One, JetBlue, and MassMutual.

Zappos issued an RFP for its PR account in May 2012, only to pull it four months later and stick with Kel & Partners instead. Before canceling the review, Zappos looked for a full-service agency to position it as a "one-stop-shop online retailer that offers a range of products from footwear to handbags."

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