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EBay, the 12-year-old auction website-turned-cultural phenomenon, has left a legacy of festive campaigns since it first began advertising in 2002. From its initial runs with Goodby "doing it eBay" and demonstrating that "people are good," to showing viewers what "It" was all about, via current agency BBDO/N.Y., the brand's image over the years has been nothing, if not fun. But this year, the San Jose, California-based company demonstrated a renewed dedication to keeping its brand as lively as ever, evident in a new campaign out of BBDO as well as a series of experimental branded entertainment efforts in partnership with talent agency/brand thinktank CAA.
"This has been a process in the works for almost 18 months," says Kevin McSpadden, eBay's senior director of brand marketing. "Our CMO Gary Briggs and I decided that we needed to put an adrenaline drip into our brand, and make sure that as it gets older, that it doesn't lose its verve, vitality and youthfulness." Not like the brand had any serious problems. Founded in 1995 as an online marketplace experiment by developer and now company chairman Pierre Omidyar, the website now reaches 38 global markets and boasts nearly 250 million registered users. And although the parent company has made some missteps during its expansion—most notably, overpaying $1 billion for its acquisition of money-losing internet phone company Skype—during the second quarter 2007 it generated revenue of more than $1.2 billion from its marketplace core business, not including profits from its other well-performing companies like PayPal.