Long the online destination for bargain hunters, eBay is moving from the virtual to the real world this holiday season, conducting a 12-city tour with a Mobile Boutique, as well as a popup retail spot in Manhattan to showcase the breadth and depth of items found at the online site.
"It's a great way for people to physically experience the power of the [eBay] marketplace," Alan Marks, svp of global communication for eBay, tells Marketing Daily. "It brings the value and selection to life for people."
The Mobile Boutique showcases the breadth of products available on eBay by offering suggestions in trends such as "Eco-Excellence" and "Savvy Splurging." The company is promoting the tour via its eBay social network, giving away $50 gift cards to the first 100 people to show up and share a secret password (obtained through a microsite, www.eBayHoliday.com).
In addition to the Mobile Boutique, eBay is opening a temporary retail store in Manhattan for 10 days in November (the 20th through the 29th). The shop, in a storefront once occupied at different times by Chanel, Coach and Louis Vuitton, will include merchandise, shopping kiosks and onsite customer service to help navigate the eBay marketplace. Consumers will not be able to physically purchase products from the store, Marks notes. Rather, they will use the kiosks to buy products online.
The retail experiential outlets come on the heels of a new campaign containing the tagline: "Come to think of it, eBay." The campaign, which includes television, print and online executions, is intended to remind consumers that eBay can be a place to find new and popular items during the holiday season.
In television commercials that begin launching Nov. 2, comedians Jim Gaffigan, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and Kevin Hart share some of their eBay stories. In one spot, Gaffigan riffs on homemade gifts ("No one wants them," he whispers in front of an elderly woman who seems to have knitted him some mittens.) "I know it's the thought that counts," he says, "but think harder. How about a snowmobile?" The next shot shows him on a snowmobile saying: "Doesn't have to be expensive. Go to eBay."
"We felt going into this holiday season, people are always looking for value -- and we felt it was a great time to remind people of what eBay offers," Marks says. "What people don't understand is how much new merchandise is on eBay. What a lot of people don't appreciate is the incredible value on new merchandise that might be a season old."
In addition, the comedians will appear in online video pieces where they provide observations about various eBay category products. The videos will appear on the eBay home page as well as in other areas on the Web. "People love to talk about the deals on eBay," Marks says of the talent used in the campaign (created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners). "That's been a core part of our brand. We wanted to use people who were great storytellers and people who were accessible."
The effort also includes detailed online rich media that is specifically targeted to areas popular among eBay users, such as cooking, fashion and music. The cooking ad involves a cooking demonstration of a chicken dish. At the end, users can click on the items in the ad and be taken directly to an eBay site where they can purchase the items.
"It's another way to convey that value and selection in a fun manner," Marks says. "Rich media gives us a great interactive way to engage people with something they love. And it lets us engage people with something they care about and are passionate about."
The television commercials will run on cable and broadcast networks, while print ads will run in magazines ranging from InStyle to Popular Mechanics. The digital buys will include areas which might appeal to people shopping for various products on eBay, such as epicurious.com for people looking to buy cookware.