Zappos Experiential Marketing – Cupcake Ambush

In 2015, Zappos thought of an extremely clever way to capitalize on a Google’s own experiential campaign. Google was giving out cupcakes to anyone who shared a picture using their photo app.

Zappos Experiential Marketing brilliantly took advantage of the opportunity by setting up their own “free stuff” giveaway that required simple one-time donation—a cupcake.

Zappos set up a mysterious cardboard box right next to Google’s cupcake truck and each time someone would offer their cupcake to the box, the box would return cool gear such as a watch, gloves, and of course, shoes.

Google recently promoted its new photo app by setting up a food truck in Austin that gave away free cupcakes. That was cool. Then a giant cardboard Zappos box set up shop across the street. And things got a lot more interesting.

Yes, the Zappos box asked people to insert the cupcakes they’d gotten from the Google truck, and then dispensed something better. And these free gifts weren’t crappy ones either. People got watches and gift cards out of that thing. The video cheekily concludes with, “Thanks for the cupcakes, giant tech company.”

Cool idea from Mullen Lowe, and brassy for a company with such a twee brand identity.

Google was pretty chill about Zappos’ claim-jumping—one member of the team even ran up to take part—but are we the only ones a little disappointed? Even if it was staged, a bit of Sharks/Jets public acrimony would have been way more fun.

Brand: Zappos
Project: #paywithacupcake
Zappos Awareness Marketing/PR: Catherine (Cat) Cook
Agency: Mullen Lowe
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
Executive Creative Director: Tim Vaccarino
Executive Creative Director: Dave Weist
Creative Director:  Jon Ruby
Associate Creative Director: Lisa Mathisen
Associate Creative Director: Nick Mathisen
Sr. Art Director: Ryan Montgomery
Sr. Copywriter: Tim Bildsten
Content Producer: Eric Skvirsky
Senior Content Producer: Aubrey Hayden
Assistant Editor: Libby Ryerson
Animator: Eric Ko
Group Account Director: Kelly Burke
Account Director: Megan Oxland
Account Supervisor: Alexandra Martin
Account Executive: Meaghan Quinn

Main Takeaway: As long as it is in good taste, think of ways to capitalize on other companies’ experiential campaigns to amplify the effects of your own campaign.



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