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Online Auction Site Parted With Goodby Silverstein Yesterday

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Online auction giant eBay today awarded its more than $70 million advertising account to Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide a day after it fired Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the marketer said.
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The San Francisco-based Goodby Silverstein had the account for six years.

Prior relationship
EBay's new president for North America, Bill Cobb, fired Goodby Silverstein from the Pizza Hut account when he was senior vice president for marketing at the company in the late 1990s. Mr. Cobb turned the business over to sibling BBDO at that time.

Mr. Cobb also worked with BBDO during the dot-com boom when he was general manager for consumer sales at Netpliance, the maker of an inexpensive device for Internet and e-mail access that did not require a personal computer.

BBDO also handles the advertising account for America Online, but an eBay spokesman, Henry Gomez, said the auction house does not consider that account to be a conflict. "We have a longstanding relationship with Time Warner. We are a big advertiser on AOL and Time Warner properties," he said.

BBDO will face a number of strategic challenges for eBay, including increased competition from a myriad of dot-coms, including, and other auction sites that are offering lower fees to merchants who post their wares online.

Integrated marketing efforts
In a press release, Mr. Cobb called BBDO the "best agency in the business." He said San Jose, Calif.-based eBay's "marketing needs have been expanding as the company has grown. To generate the integrated marketing efforts we undertake today, we needed an agency that could deliver creative excellence across our marketing mix."

The company said it spent $455 million on global online and offline marketing programs in 2004, with about $250 million spent in U.S marketing initiatives. According to TNS Media Intelligence, eBay's measured media spending in the U.S. peaked at $84.6 million in 2003 and last year dropped to $73.8 million.

The company has done two national ad campaigns, a musical extravaganza-themed effort "Do It eBay" and last year's more sentimental "The Power of All of Us."

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