Amid Amazon lawsuit, eBay lays into holiday with boosted toy biz

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On the heels of its lawsuit against chief rival Amazon, eBay is plowing full steam ahead into its holiday campaign for this year. This month, the online marketplace is releasing the next iteration of "It's Happening," the campaign it debuted in September that showcases eBay as the retail destination for all manner of goods.

"What you saw were vignettes in September that were relevant to the months leading up to the holidays," says Suzy Deering, chief marketing office of North America, noting the presence of college football and fashion trends like overalls in earlier iterations of the campaign. "We're going to take that same approach of putting it in the customer mindset and make it relevant for them around this time of year."

It's a crucial time for any retailer, but especially for 23-year-old eBay, which in mid-October filed a lawsuit alleging Amazon has been poaching its third-party sellers by approaching them through its messaging platform. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 17 in Santa Clara county in California, noted that the practice dated back to 2015. "Over the past several years, Amazon has perpetrated a scheme to infiltrate and exploit eBay's internal member email system," the lawsuit read. "Amazon did this to recruit high-value eBay sellers to Amazon. The breadth and scope of Amazon's conduct is startling."

To compete with Amazon and others for consumer attention now, eBay has to close the perception gap around promotions like free shipping and other competitive advantages it has, Deering says. The company is also laying big into toys to pick up some of the dollars left on the table by Toys 'R' Us' exit earlier this year. EBay has a new toy destination on its site, dubbed "Toytopia," where it is highlighting both vintage and new toy must-haves.

The new holiday work will include TV, radio, digital and social and outdoor advertising. EBay worked with 72andSunny on creative, Publicis' Blue449 on media, as well as Erwin Peland (now EP + Co) and Civic on other aspects of the campaign.

While Deering declined to say how much eBay is spending on this year's holiday effort, she says the brand is committed to being top of mind for customers. Last year, eBay spent $30.8 million on measured media in the U.S. in November and December, according to Kantar Media.

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