The NYT reports: From Zappos, an Unadorned Approach, and shows off Zappos latest move, naked models. Their naughty bits are covered with bars, and the models aren't the supertall wafer-thing kind, to bring the message a more realistic matter-of-fact visual tone: You're naked, you need clothes. Mullen created the campaign, "Zappos has a quirky culture," said Tim Vaccarino, group creative director at Mullen to the NYT. "Doing something typical is not really them."
Using nudity and sex to sell products can be a tricky proposition for brands. Ads for Calvin Klein featuring a ménage à trois of young models wearing nothing but Calvin Klein jeans drew criticism for being too sexual. Abercrombie & Fitch, the retailer of clothing for teenagers, has come under fire for using overtly sexual images in its catalogs and advertisements.
In 2003, the company withdrew a holiday catalog, A&F Quarterly, after protests from parent groups and others that the images encouraged sexual behavior among teenagers.
Another retailer, American Apparel, has been criticized for nudity in ads. In 2008, the company ran ads online that featured topless women among other overtly sexual images.
“The American public, I think, is mature enough to be able to handle these types of images,” said Ryan Holiday, the director of online marketing at American Apparel. Brands should consider their motives for using nudity and sexuality in ads, Mr. Holiday said.
“Are they doing it because they want to get attention from blogs and Web sites that will write about it?” he asked. “Or are they doing it because it’s the ad campaign that speaks most truly to who they are and what they want to sell?”