'No other brand can do what we do' - eBay MD reveals future plans

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 5 September 2017
Tim Mackinnon

Working with its new creative agency 72andSunny in this market for the first time, this week saw eBay’s new TV ad roll off the conveyor belt. 

The ‘Fill Your Cart with Colour’ campaign went to air Sunday night and as of today also makes its way across, cinema, out-of-home, display, digital and social channels.

However, this is just phase one of the campaign, with the brand’s former chief marketing officer, who was today announced as its MD, Tim Mackinnon, telling AdNews he’s looking forward to the second part of the marketing push wish involves humorous meme content.

Mackinnon, who had been in the CMO role for nine months, sat down with AdNews for a quick-fire Q&A to find out more about the ad, get his views on its rival Amazon and find out just what makes eBay so unique.

Q: Tell us more about the campaign and what marketing channels are leading it?

TM: The campaign will consist of two key phases. The first, ‘Fill Your Cart with Colour’, focuses on the eBay difference and celebrates the colour and individuality of the community and product selection onsite. This element is led by a 30 second TVC and a series of outdoor executions. 

The second phase of the campaign will see eBay challenging consumers nationwide with the question, ‘But Did You Check eBay?’, which will roll out on television, online, social and cinema. 

Q: Why ramp up on the ads/campaign now?

TM: This month eBay in Australia turns 18 and it’s the perfect time to celebrate the 11 million buyers and sellers that come to eBay to find exactly what they want and express who they are. We have one of the world’s largest communities and this campaign celebrates the diversity that makes up our marketplace.  

Q: Is it anything to do Amazon’s arrival? And how do you feel about its impending arrival?

TM: Competition is healthy and it drives the pace of innovation. But when I speak to small businesses and retailers, they are worried about the way Amazon might compete with them if they sell on the platform. Here, eBay is a true marketplace, we don’t succeed unless our sellers succeed. We will continue to grow the 40,000 Australian retailers on our platform.

Q: What’s the best thing about the campaign?

TM: The best thing is the ‘But Did You Check eBay’ part. It plays on the regret we all feel when we don’t get the best price. It uses humorous meme content, that works in all channels. It builds on the habit millions of Australians have in using eBay to compare prices. It is simple, memorable and durable.

Q: What was the biggest challenge?

TM: There was a temptation to use ‘But Did You Check eBay?’ with lots of different messages and in different personalised, targeted contexts. In the end, we went with a simple execution.

Q: As CMO at the time of creating the ads, how close did you get/how close can you get to the ad creation process?

TM: In this case, the campaign strategy and execution originated globally. We made sure the campaign had Australian relevance and cut through for our consumers. The flexibility of ‘Fill Your Cart with Colour’ enables us to tell local stories. We created some of our own versions for the second phase of the campaign, the ‘But Did You Check eBay?’ part. We also drove our key messages around the 40,000 Australian retailers on eBay. I rely on my fantastic team and agency to do this. My job is to ensure the message aligns to local strategy. They are experts on how to get this to cut through creatively with Australian audience.

Q: How brave do you think you are as a client? Is it hard to give control and go with riskier ideas?

TM: For us, eBay is at a place where we need to be bold because we are the market leader and we represent Australian retail as it faces more competition. We encourage our agencies to push us and challenge our thinking. 

Q: What do you want people think and feel about the adverts?

TM: Today’s shoppers are yearning to be themselves in the sea of sameness that is retail. We’d love for Australians to see the campaign and feel empowered to express themselves and break free from the bland. Whatever their passion, hobby or interest, we want Aussies to be who they are and to be proud of it. The second part of the campaign ‘Did you check eBay?’ aims to interrupt the habits of those who go through the process of shopping on autopilot. We want people to develop a habit around checking eBay.

Q: What do you think the ad says about you as a brand?

TM: ‘Fill Your Cart With Colour’ is a rallying cry celebrating individuality and self-expression. It highlights all the ways eBay enables anyone to shop and sell vibrantly. To break away from the “beige” conformity of traditional commerce, and live colourfully. Our community truly sets us apart and this new brand platform is a way of celebrating this. No other brand can truly offer this. It also reminds people that eBay’s selection and value makes it an indispensable part of the shopping process. 

Q: How does this ad compare to eBay ads in other markets?

TM: The campaign is aimed to hero the tight-knit, yet global community eBay has fostered. Around the world, Fill Your Cart with Colour brings to life the colour, diversity and self-expression found onsite, highlighting how eBay empowers shoppers around the world to find exactly what they love and express who they are. This is a global campaign and has been rolled out in other regions including the US and the UK, but we have localised it for the Australian market and changed the phasing and channel plan significantly to ensure we get the most out of the platform for our position locally.

The US version of the ad

The biggest differences is given our selection of 40,000 Australian retailers with 60 million Australian listings, we have confidently invested more in “But Did you Check eBay”. We are confident that when Australians check eBay they will find the best price.

Q: What role does diversity play in the ads and why is this important?

TM: Diversity and self-expression is at the heart of the eBay brand and the strategy is to really bring this to life. ‘Fill Your Cart with Colour’ celebrates the things that make us unique. From the sneaker collector to small business seller, ‘Fill Your Cart with Colour’ showcases the diversity of not only eBay buyers, but the thousands of small business sellers and the 1.1 billion new and unique products available globally on the site.

The new eBay ad is the first big brand work from 72andSunny since it opened in Australia earlier this year.

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