Parisians invited to punch through bus shelter posters and fight fashion stereotypes for Zalando’s “#FreeToBe” campaign

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Have you ever had someone criticise your style with a sneering put-down, or had a much loved outfit or item of clothing invite a look of disapproval?

Parisians who have had their fashion sense insulted are being invited to literally punch through posters on bus shelters across the city emblazoned with stereotypical put downs used to make people feel bad about what they wear, such as “Sinon, ils font la même à ta taille?”, which means: “Do they make that in your size?” and “C’est pas de ton âge de porter ça!”, which means: “You’re too old to wear that!”

The stunt is part of Zalando’s “#FreeToBe” campaign, created by We Are Social, which aims to get people to fight back and free themselves from preconceived notions of how they should or shouldn’t dress and, ultimately, to wear whatever they want with confidence.

Behind the posters is an item of clothing likely to invite put downs or be deemed a controversial style choice.

The member of the public who destroys the poster is urged to take the garment, wear it and and defend a more inclusive view of fashion that allows people the freedom to dress in any style they want.

The stunt launches this week and runs for three days until Saturday, November 2nd. The JC Decaux bus shelter panels containing the posters will be replaced and the clothes restocked several times each day to allow as many people as possible to express their style.

Other insults featured on the posters include: “T’as perdu combien de paris pour porter ça?”, which means: “How many bets did you lose to have to wear that?”  and “T’as mis ton pyjama aujourd’hui ou quoi?”, which means: “Did you put your pajamas on today or what?”.

The posters are at bus shelters in the Rivoli, Opéra, Haussmann, Montparnasse, Odéon and St Lazare districts of Paris.

The stunt is supported by billboard ads and a social media campaign in which 30 influencers will invite their Instagram followers to wear clothing they love that has received criticism or been judged. They will be invited to Paris to show off their style together on the street alongside the influencers.

People who take part can share their looks on Stories using the #FreeToBe hashtag. In addition, a series of ads on Facebook and Instagram will smash through clichéd fashion rules.

The campaign builds on Zalando’s positioning unveiled last year when the brand first launched the #FreeToBe hashtag as part of a major international campaign advocating the freedom to be yourself, regardless of shape, age, gender or ethnicity. It starred brand ambassadors such as Alice Hurel, a model with alopecia, and non-binary model and activist Rain Dove.

Riccardo Vola, Zalando’s General Manager, Southern Europe, said:

It’s important for a brand like Zalando to speak out about acceptance and the freedom to be oneself. Zalando offers all styles and champions inclusive fashion, free from stereotypes. With this campaign, we wanted to go where everybody expresses their sense of fashion – the streets – to reach the public directly and invite them to express their personalities freely.


We Are Social Paris

  • Sandrine Plasseraud, CEO
  • Thomas Guilhot, Executive Creative Director
  • Nicolas Duménil, Creative Director
  • Fabien Gailleul, Associate Creative Director
  • Cécile Ousset, Annabelle Claverie, TV Producers
  • Doriane Deneuve, Junior Art Director
  • Marius Saltet, Motion Designer
  • Emmanuelle Rud, Jeremie Amram, Valentine Boucard, Strategic Planners
  • Anne-Laure Cottereau, Account Director
  • Clémence Monfray, Junior consultant
  • Auriane Desplanches, Senior influencer strategist
  • Boris Le Guen, Social amplification manager
  • Yuan Sun, Media Manager

We are a socially-led creative agency. The agency has a global team of more than 850 people in 14 offices around the world with a common purpose: to connect people and brands in meaningful ways. The agency has on its portfolio brands likeadidas, Netflix, Samsung, Lavazza, and Google on global, regional and local projects.