Ebay looks to put cyber attack behind it with launch of first global brand campaign

Ebay is launching its first global brand campaign as it aims to put its brand top-of-mind in the run-up to Christmas and reassure customers that it offers a ‘trusted, modern marketplace’ following a cyber attack that affected 145 million of its customers earlier this year.

The campaign, entitled “Shop the World” will launch in the US on Monday (13 October) before rolling out to the UK a week later (20 October). Developed in partnership with Goodby Silverstein & Partners it aims to show how anything – from a music festival to a marathon to a film screening – can inspire consumers.

Running across digital and social channels, it will aim to showcase the huge range of produts on offer at eBay. The online retailer will also run themed collection on its own site that will be instantly shoppable.

Speaking to Marketing Week, eBay’s newly promoted senior director of operations Sarah Calcott says the campaign will focus on two main consumer groups – those that start their Christmas shopping early and are looking to be inspired and those that leave buying gifts later and are looking for a good deal.

A UK festive push, which will follow on from the global brand campaign, will promote services such as Click * Collect when it launches in the coming weeks.

“Leading up to the holiday season is a great time to communicate to customers how shopping has changed. It will start with an inspirational feel to reflect how customers start shopping then as we hit crunch time and people get more serious about gifts we switch much more into meeting the needs of customers with a focus on last-minute gifting, good deals and offering things like click-and-collect,” she adds.

Calcott says while sales will be the biggest indicator of the success of the campaign, eBay will also be measuring engagement both from buyers and sellers. The retailer is hoping to reinforce to customers that rather than offering mainly second-half goods on offer, 70 per cent of its items are available for a fixed price and 78 per cent are brand new.

The launch of eBay’s first global brand campaign comes after the brand announced plans to step up its marketing efforts in the second half of the year to “reengage with customers”. That came after the firm admitted that a cyber attack that compromised the data of 145 million customers had an impact on its sales, forcing eBay to cut its full-year sales forecast by $200m to $18.5bn.

The attack impacted operating margin and gross revenues due to slower active buyer growth and lower conversion. Speaking on a conference call in July, chief executive John Donahoe admitted that a significant number of the people that had come back to the site had not returned to their previous level of activity despite a big investment by eBay in couponing, seller incentive and increased marketing spend.

Calcott claims that 2014 has been a “challenging year” and it did take eBay “a little while” to bring customers back and get them to change their password following the hack. However, she says the site is now back in growth from a traffic perspective and the signs are “encouraging”, although eBay is not taking that growth for granted.

She also says the hack has had little impact on the eBay brand. That is borne out by figures from YouGov’s Brand Index which show that while perceptions of the brand did fall in the immediate aftermath of the cyber attack, they are now back to levels seen before the incident

“We had frustrated customers but we are the other side of that. We are very lucky in that we have a loyal set of customers and we have seen those come back. We believe we are back on track. Part of doing this global brand campaign is to reassure customers and tell them what a great experience we offer,” she says.