As evidenced by Apple’s unveil of the long-awaited new iPhone today, smartphones keep getting bigger and bigger. Zappos wants to capitalize on that buzz with a marketing stunt featuring a product dubbed "mobile-ready pants" that promise to fit devices of all sizes.
Leading up to Apple’s announcement today, the Zappos team swiftly created a video and microsite to launch a bogus pair of overalls. Once the page went live today, Zappos took to social media to spread the word about its prank.
"Technology is getting bigger and growing fast. That’s why Zappos.com has developed mobile-ready pants for all of your tech devices," says a voiceover at the beginning of the clip.
But just because the overalls could be considered a wearable, like Fitbit bracelets, doesn’t mean they aren’t fashionable. After all, the video points out that they include "contrast stitching and antique brass hardware." There is also a pocket for headphones in addition to the massive overall pocket in the front.
— Zappos (@zappos) September 9, 2014
Zappos is known for pulling these kinds of stunts. When Kanye West bashed the retailer’s CEO Tony Hsieh for "selling shit product" during a podcast with novelist Bret Easton last year, the brand created an actual "Sh-t Product"—a $100,000 plunger—on its website. Similar to the Apple-mocking overalls, the landing page was created on the fly.
Hsieh told Adweek about last year's stunt: "We don't have a formal process or team to respond quickly to media events … the Kanye thing was just a random fun idea that someone came up with yesterday morning, and then a bunch of employees from different departments jumped in to help make it happen quickly."
And while Zappos’ new apparel line is purely meant to be humorous, quite a few brands have actually created products designed for mobile devices. Design agency fift, for example, created a wipe T-Shirt designed to clean smartphones. And a pair of jean shorts from Power Pocket converts body motion into energy needed to charge a phone.
Meanwhile, Trident Gum took a much different approach earlier this year when it created a line of mobile-blocking clothing. The jackets, shirts and dresses are made of radio frequency-blocking fabric designed to tune out technology.