EBay Goes Big on Web Marketing for Holidays


As the holidays draw near and shoppers start opening their wallets [for presents, event planning, vacations, etc.], e-tailers have started increasing online promotions. Leading the pack is eBay, which has launched a six-week-long web-based campaign playing off the concept of “gift freak outs” — the shrieks of joy that follow the opening of a great present.

The short webisodes will star The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee In each segment, Bee explains the different forms of exultation over gifts, deemed “unwrap attacks.” Visitors to eBay’s holiday-themed promotional site can also upload their own gift-opening reactions, share them on Twitter, or experiment with them via the Unwrap Attack Creator on the site’s Facebook fan page. After uploading a photo of yourself into the app, you can choose the scene of the freak out, gift to be received and reaction (options include “tears of joy” and “bouncing off the walls”).

The site also gives visitors the chance to directly purchase gifts like toys and electronics, connecting social-networking and e-commerce.

EBay isn’t fooling around – the auction site has a budget of around $18 million, and the New York Times calls this new marketing effort eBay’s “largest effort in social media” since the site and its videos accompany a new application, eBay Group Gifts. Group Gifts works with PayPal, a money transfer service, to allow multiple people to chip in for a large gift that would normally be too expensive for one individual.

Thanks to PayPal’s pain-free payment process, eBay’s income rose 23% to $2.2 billion in this year’s third quarter. John Donahoe, CEO of eBay, revealed to Businessweek that PayPal accounts for an estimated 37% of his company’s overall sales.

The combination of Bee’s snarky personality with the hilarious over-enthusiasm resulting from gift-giving is a definite draw, but the Group Gifts application offers much-needed ease during the holiday season – it is also a familiar practice used for years by cost-cutting shoppers.

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