Is the eBay Windorphins campaign the best they can do?
As an active eBay seller I am very interested in the success of eBay’s advertising campaigns. eBay charges sellers fees in exchange for access to the platform. Although eBay receives a lot of organic traffic, they also engage in advertising and promotional communications designed to attract buyers to the platform, convince buyers that they can find what they are looking for on eBay and hopefully convince buyers that eBay is a safe –and fun place to trade. These efforts are one of the things we pay for with our eBay listing and selling fees –and I think we have a right to expect excellence, or at least competence in this area.
eBay’s promotional efforts take several forms:
1. SEO optimization to insure eBay listings come up in search results
2. Submitting eBay listings to shopping sites like Froogle and others
3. Pay Per Click Advertising with Yahoo, Google and other sites
4. Public and press relations to get positive stories in the press
5. Online advertising (banners) on popular web sites
6. Print advertising
7. Radio, TV and cable advertising
eBay does a pretty good job with the first five items on this list, but in my opinion they need a lot of help with number 6 and 7.
I don’t know if you have seen the latest campaign based on something called Windorphins. Meg Whitman introduced the Windorphins campaign at eBay Live and it was received with a big yawn. I remember looking at the folks next to me and we all had these quizzical looks on our faces that said: “What in the world is this?”
If you go to http://windorphins.ebay.com/special/index.html you can see some short videos that attempt to explain the concept. I watched the videos, and sorry –I just don’t get it and I don’t think the American people will either. I searched the term on the eBay message boards and most of the posts seem to be taking it as a joke. Maybe I missed it, but i did not see one enthusiastic or complimentary post.
The Windorphins campaign follows the Get IT on eBay campaign that was loved by all of the big corporate sellers on eBay but disliked by most small sellers because it focused on all of the brand name consumer products sold by eBay’s largest sellers and ignored small home-business and niche sellers. It was also a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. eBay’s TV ads were featuring famous brand name products at the same time eBay was cracking down on sellers of these products to remove fake and unauthorized products from the platform.
I can’t even figure out who eBay’s advertising agency is these days. eBay abandoned Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco back in March 2005 in favor of BBD&O –a huge New York agency. But a Google search brings up a Chicago-based advertising agency called Starcom Mediavest Group. I looked up this company and it looks like they represent companies like Kellogg’s Cereals, Kraft Foods, Allstate Insurance and Miller Highlight beer but I don’t see eBay on their client list although there are news stories they represent eBay.
I don’t know if someone at one of these agencies, or someone in eBay, thought up the Windorphins campaign –but whoever is responsible for this joke of an ad campaign should be sent back to the minor leagues.
eBay knows it has a problem. It is not attracting buyers to the platform and sellers are looking to other platforms like Amazon and their own web sites to sell product. A really great advertising campaign could help turn this around.
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