Kenneth Cole Inspires With Holiday-Themed Animated GIF

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“25 Days of Inspirational Emails” — Day 1: Kenneth Cole

What better way is there to start off the “25 Days of Inspirational Emails” than with a fantastic holiday-themed animated GIF? This email from Kenneth Cole has an animated GIF that really caught my eye — it’s not only a great animation, but it’s so timely as well!


The animation shows a sleek Kenneth Cole package being unwrapped before your eyes—a powerful emotional motivator to purchase. Giving and getting gifts in the holiday season is exciting, and how often do you get to unwrap presents in email?! While I have seen some animated GIFs in other emails that I’ve received this season—specifically from, Adorama, and Princess Cruises—these appealed more to the rational side of shoppers’ minds, focusing on deadlines, free shipping, and savings.

As stated in an earlier post, one of the best things about using an animated GIF in emails is that they are supported in most major email clients! Check out this chart of support from our friends over at Campaign Monitor.

Since only the first frame of the animated GIF is displayed in Outlook 2007-2013 and Windows Mobile 7, it’s important that the first frame includes important information and is not just a blank image. Kenneth Cole does it right — the call to action and header are included on every frame.

Less Inspiring with Images Off

Since numerous email clients disable images by default, it is important that emails are optimized for this environment. Emails that are optimized allow subscribers to view pertinent information of the email if images are not present. Unfortunately, since Kenneth Cole’s email is image-based (like most retail emails), the email appears essentially blank when images are disabled.

While it’s nice that they used a black background color so the email isn’t completely white when images are disabled, the dark color makes the blue ALT text extremely difficult to read. And, what’s the worst part about this email when images are disabled? The CTA is nowhere to be seen!

Kenneth Cole could have styled their ALT text or used a bulletproof button to make sure the CTA is present regardless of whether images are present or not.


As expected, mobile has been playing a BIG part in this year’s holiday shopping. IBM reported a 70% increase in mobile traffic to retail sites, with more than 18% of consumers using their devices. Mobile sales have also skyrocketed, reaching close to 13% (a 96% increase over 2011!). With that being said, holiday emails should be optimized for mobile devices this season!

Unfortunately, this email from Kenneth Cole could definitely be more mobile-friendly. The main call to action, “Shop Now,” is extremely small. Luckily, since it’s part of a larger linked image, if a subscriber touches anywhere near the button, it will still take them to the landing page. All of the other links on the email — navigation bar, social sharing links, etc. — are subject to fat-finger mis-taps on small screens.

In addition, not only did I have to zoom in on my iPhone to click the “View on a mobile device link,” but the landing page it brought me to was anything but mobile-friendly. The text was hard to read due to its small size and all of the links were so close to each other that they are very difficult to click!

The “mobile version” of this email is hard to read and interact with
In order to make this email more mobile-friendly so that it is easy to interact with in ALL environments, Kenneth Cole could have used a scalable design. To read more about options for mobile-friendly emails, check out our post, “Responsive & Scalable Email Design: What’s The Difference?

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