EBay Returns to TV for the Holidays

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After running a digital campaign last year, eBay is returning to the small screen for holiday 2016. The San Jose, Calif.-based retail company is doubling down on TV as its primary messaging, beginning with spots on Nov. 9.

"TV allows you to tell eBay's story in a way that connects emotionally for people considering [the brand] as a destination for gifts," said Suzy Deering, who joined the company as chief marketing officer last year. She noted that the campaign, which uses the tagline, "The gift they're waiting for is on eBay," uses TV as a core part of the communication strategy this year.

The online marketplace created two 30-second commercials as well as four 15-second spots for digital video. Two years ago, eBay ran broadcast spots as part of its "Shop the World" campaign, but last year's campaign was all online and focused around a holiday hub on the brand's website. The company is also creating a Holiday Workshop destination online with inspiration and gift ideas for consumers, and will feature a homepage countdown clock with promotional deals.

Ms. Deering noted that eBay will boost its marketing on 18 different social channels, including its recently launched beta version of shopping assistant ShopBot with Facebook Messenger. The ShopBot will ask personalized questions and offer shopping advice.

Earlier this year, eBay put out an RFP for its holiday campaign and selected San Francisco-based Pereira & O'Dell for the push. It's the first time 21-year-old eBay has worked with the agency, but Ms. Deering said the relationship may continue on a project by project basis.

"The campaign captures the excitement of giving gifts that range from high-tech to unique. In one spot, we actually combine classic and current with a girl wanting to be like her pilot granddad, who gets a leather aviator cap and a new drone," said PJ Pereira, chief creative officer and co-founder of Pereira & O'Dell. "There is this magical moment when you give a really thoughtful, kickass gift, and that's the moment we want to inspire."

EBay also worked with Digitas, Edelman and Triad.

Ms. Deering declined to say how much eBay is spending this year, but noted that the budget exceeds that of 2015. Last year, the company spent roughly $2.5 million on measured media in the U.S. during November and December, according to Kantar Media.

For the third quarter, eBay reported revenue of $2.2 billion, a 6% increase over the year-earlier period. The site, which spun off payment service PayPal more than a year ago, has 165 million active buyers globally.

Last month, Target announced that it is also putting more of a focus on TV this holiday, airing four more spots this year than in 2015.

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