Zola’s controversy sparking same-sex commercial appears to be generating plenty of glowing press coverage for the online wedding registry. Following a wave of online outrage at the Hallmark Channel for pulling the Zola ad featuring two brides, Zola has received an outpouring of support.
The reaction had quite the positive effect on the company’s public image, especially when compared to the other viral ad of this holiday season: Peloton. The contrast is apparent in the way the two startups have rallied to capitalize on their respective internet moments. While the newly-public Peloton has been forced to do damage control for its now-infamous “Peloton Wife” ad, Zola’s positioning has been to double down on Hallmark’s condemned decision to pull the ad.
In an interview with Fast Company on Monday, Zola CMO Mike Chi said the company has spoken out publicly to get Hallmark’s attention, “not necessarily to promote Zola,” he said. He went on to explain that the startup “felt this decision was wrong and that it warranted a broader discourse than a few terse emails.”
While the Zola team insists that their public comments have to do with standing by the company’s values, they didn’t miss the chance to draw it out. In an email sent to customers on Monday night titled, “Happy holidays from our founder,” the nuptials-focused service further alluded to their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Every couple has their own story. And every couple celebrates their love in unique ways. At Zola, we are so proud to welcome and support all couples, all love, all families, and all weddings,” the note said. The email concluded with a holiday-related sign-off by co-founders Shan-Lyn Ma and Nobu Nakaguchi: “Wishing you and your family happy holidays and a 2020 full of love and laughter.”
While it’s unclear whether the incident is actually helping grow Zola’s wedding-planning customer base, the marketing strategy around it is being touted as a genius move. With peak wedding season still months away, the name recognition alone is taking the company’s relationship with public consumers to the next level.