Etsy's new spot taps into Olympics fever

Ad from 72andSunny draws parallels between makers and athletes (but doesn't mention Games directly)

Published On
Jul 12, 2021

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Etsy is not an Olympics sponsor, but the growing online marketplace is aiming to use the global event to continue its recent momentum. Today, Etsy debuted a 30-second commercial that highlights the parallels between professional athletes and craft makers, without actually mentioning the Olympics by name.

In the video, a young girl endures laughter from her class when she proudly says her dream is to make candles. Other artists are shown facing the challenges and criticisms that arise as they try to make careers out of hobbies like drawing, jewelry making and sewing. “As kids, they told us to follow our dreams. But the minute we started chasing them, they told us we were being unrealistic,” a voiceover says. “But what they didn’t know is that dreamers make their own victory.” The spot concludes with text that reads “Find greatness in the making.”

The spot will run in both full and 15-second formats on Olympic-viewing networks.

“Our stories focus on the commonalities between makers and athletes—their dedication to the craft, the focus on skills and technical precision, and the pursuit of a life-long passion,” says an Etsy spokeswoman. This is the first time the Brooklyn-based retailer has run any Olympics-inspired marketing, she says, noting that Etsy is hoping to tap into a larger audience by running its spot on those channels airing the Tokyo games.

Etsy is one of many marketers trying to capture a piece of the Olympics pie without a sponsorship. Yet rules are stringent for such brands, particularly for those that feature Olympic athletes. In April, Peloton began running an Olympics-themed campaign featuring the likes of runners Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix. Like Etsy, the fitness brand is not a sponsor.

Founded 16 years ago, Etsy saw sales surge during the pandemic as crafting wannabes, now stuck at home, pursued their passions at the same time as interest in shopping online soared. The retailer was named an Ad Age Marketer of the Year in December, as it used marketing to boost its sales gains with initiatives such as a holiday campaign with new partner 72andSunny. The agency also worked on the new maker-focused work.

Though revenue is still on the rise—for its most recent quarter, Etsy reported a 142% rise to $550.6 million in revenue—the brand will need to continue its momentum as consumers return to their pre-pandemic habits. And marketing is expected to play a crucial role. On its first-quarter earnings call, Etsy executives mentioned “marketing” nearly 50 times. In the three-month period that ended March 31, the retailer spent $151 million on consolidated marketing, a 212% rise over the year-earlier period. Some 13% of that figure was dedicated to brand marketing, including TV and digital video, a category that was expected to increase by $15 million in the second quarter in geographies such as UK and Germany, according to executives.

“There has never been a better time for us to lean into advertising and gain share,” said Etsy’s Chief Financial Officer Rachel Glaser on the call. She added, “One of the things that is really resonating with people through our marketing is why to come to Etsy and when to come to Etsy.”

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