Come to think of it…eBay – eBay set to launch new ad campaign

eBay has revealed that they are going to launch a multi-media (TV, print and certainly online).  The over-arching them is: “Come to think of it, eBay.”  This is not only news-worthy, but a big deal for eBay sellers so let’s dig in by first reviewing the last 5+ years of eBay ad campaigns and then do some initial thinking about the new campaign.

A brief history of eBay TV campaigns

This is the first eBay campaign in 18+ months and the history of the pre-Donahoe era campaign has been less than stellar. Here’s a quick synopsis with links were still on-line and the general feeling out there in the eBay seller base about the campaign.

  • 2004 – The Power of All of Us – Too touchy feely – nothing about selling things.
  • 2005 – Find IT on eBay – Pretty decent, hit on the variety that eBay offers.
  • 2006 – Do it eBay – Fun, but probably too kitschy.
  • 2007 – Shop Victoriously – The last effort of the Meg era – we were 100% focused back on auctions and this was an attempt to talk about how fun that is (well, was).
  • 2008 – No ad
  • 2009 – Come to think of it, eBay

Come to think of it…

I’ve embedded the first video here in the blog for your viewing enjoyment:

eBay is saying there’s another video on the way and that there are two print ads with these themes:

  • “Get the same new bag as celebrities with money left over for a tiny dog.” – hits on the 
  • “last year’s music player will still play this year’s music.” – hitting on the eBay secondary marketplace theme.

Initial thoughts on the concept

The idiom dictionary describes “Come to think of it” as “I just remembered”.   When I first watched the ad, something bothered me about it that didn’t click until I saw that definition.

There are lots of great stories that I think eBay could be telling as they come through this turnaround like:: “We should be your first destination”, or “we are the source for the best deals” or “we had trust problems and we’ve solved them”, or “Hey you know us for auctions, now we have some great fixed-price deals!”, they are saying – “, but instead, eBay is saying: “hey please don’t forget us” or even worse, “You probably have already forgotten us.

So while I like the ad content (his wife gets a dress for 40% off), the tag line is kind of weak to me.  eBay is a $60b marketplace and their big come back ad campaign positions eBay as an afterthought.

The jury is still out, but I’m surprised at the weak positioning of the campaign.  Come to think of it, you’d think they could have come up with something a little stronger?  What do you think – let us know in comments.

SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Amazon and Google.  eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.