eBay starts with Mother’s Day as it introduces seasonal TV ads

April 14, 2016 12:24 PM

EBay Inc. wants to expand its reach and will add another screen—the television variety—back into its marketing mix.

The online marketplace is “leaning into its brand in a more meaningful way,” said Hal Lawton, senior vice president of eBay North America, during a keynote address at the annual ChannelAdvisor Catalyst conference this week in Las Vegas. And TV advertising is one way eBay plans to promote its brand in the United States.

EBay will air commercials in 16 U.S. markets starting next week. Commercials, as well as advertising on radio and streaming services like Hulu, are part of a larger effort to better execute seasonal marketing, which eBay hasn’t focused on in the past, Lawton said. The renewed focus on marketing aims  to help eBay’s sellers grow their revenue, he said.

“EBay is a technology company. Historically, we haven’t been a retailer and haven’t done seasonal marketing,” said Lawton, who joined eBay a year ago from Home Depot Inc., where at one time he headed online operations. He said seasonal marketing “is a big deal for eBay, and it’s a big deal for us to get back into TV advertising.”

During his presentation, Lawton showed a Mother’s Day-themed eBay commercial that will air next week. The commercial centers around a mother receiving a yoga mat from her daughter in the mail. The advertisement ended with: “More than a yoga mat; eBay is more than shopping.”

The last time eBay ran TV commercials was in October 2104, when it launched a global marketing campaign in the run-up to the holiday shopping season. The marketing push consisted of four TV spots, online and mobile ad buys, and advertising on social networks. 

Lawton also said eBay will push to attract shoppers through social media. EBay this week at Facebook Inc.’s F8 conference announced technology that ties into Facebook’s Messenger app. This will allow eBay users to opt in to automated Facebook Messaging notifications that will send buyers a Messenger reminder 15 minutes before a listing ends, as well as a notification if they are outbid in the final 15 minutes of an auction.

The Messenger integration is a way for eBay to capture mobile users, who spend on average 10% of their time on a mobile phone in a messaging or texting app, Lawton said.

EBay is active on 14 social network platforms, including Imgur, WeHeartIt and Pinterest, he said. 




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