If PR’s power is about changing perception, then this campaign is a defining example. A PR campaign that exploded the myths around eBay as auction site and allowed eBay to take on the established players in fashion e-retail. And it’s backed up by numbers: the PR campaign changed perception of eBay, leading to a 265% increase in people associating eBay with fashion, and led to a 50% increase in traffic to the eBay Fashion Outlet post-launch

Campaign Background

eBay’s growth is being driven by its ‘buy-it-now’ offer which is achieving exponential rises in sales. While auction sales continue to grow, eBay’s strategic business objectives are totally focused on achieving awareness around the ‘buy-it-now’ offer and positioning the brand as a value e-retailer. A key pillar of this strategy is the eBay Fashion Outlet which was launched in April 2010. The eBay Fashion Outlet is a new destination for discount high street fashion online.

The Challenge

The media did not only not view eBay as a fashion site, they actively felt that eBay had no credibility or permission to play in the world of fashion. A media audit of fashion editors in May found that only 20% would consider eBay as a shopping destination when looking for fashion. Shine’s job was to change these perceptions, giving editors and bloggers permission to write about eBay and fashion and therefore drive consumer awareness and traffic.


Drive traffic to the eBay Fashion Outlet in the first month of launch
Change perception of eBay so that it becomes associated with fashion

Strategic Approach

The House of eBay - Behave Like A Fashion House
To launch the eBay Fashion Outlet to media, Shine recommended that eBay needs to behave just as a fashion house would, with our own ‘boutique’, our own ‘show’, our own ‘creative director’ and a discerning list of top bloggers and editors to cascade our message through.

Method Deployed
Stage 1 – The House of eBay
Shine Live chose the trendy Soho Hotel to host the event due to its central postcode – putting the launch a stone’s throw away from key media publishing houses Natmags, Bauer and Condé Nast.

Stage 2 – Innovation – A UK First
In a nod to eBay’s innovation as the world’s largest online retailer, Shine shipped coveted iPads from the US on the day of launch. Arriving just days before the volcano air delays, the event boasted the only iPads in the country, giving the launch the ‘wow factor’ and a real pull for media. The iPads were the perfect forum in which to display the new eBay Fashion Outlet Site.

Stage 3 – The Creative Director
Shine enlisted the expertise of celebrity stylist Zoe Lem, famously the face behind What Not to Wear. Acting as a curator for the room styling, Lem styled all inventory on show at the event, and built a physical space that closely reflected the outlet site. Zoe also attended the launches to media and bloggers to provide additional insight on the eBay Fashion Outlet Stylist and challenge perceptions.
Exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Zoe Lem giving her style tips from the launch event was seeded to digital titles and blogger post-event.

Stage 4 – Treat the Media As A Fashion House Would
Shine worked to a tiered ‘gold’ media list to ensure key fashion titles remained the priority throughout media maximisation. Following extensive media liaison, over 120 influential fashion journalists and bloggers attended the event, 65 from gold tier fashion and lifestyle titles, driving over 140 perception-changing media hits in key fashion media.

Key media out-takes:
“Move over ASOS – there’s a new bargain online fashion store on the block!” Daily Mirror
“eBay has launched a fashion site – time for some lunch-break bargain hunting”. LOOK
“It has all the fashion appeal of the high street – without the crowds, queues or unflattering changing room lighting”. Daily Mail
“eBay’s new fashion outlet means savings of up to 70% on your favourite high street brands without leaving the sofa. Fab!” The Sun

Results: Output Measures

Media coverage results & evaluation:
• 143 x hits total, including 14 x national, 33 x digital, 16 x blog and 35 x regional
• 27 x ‘gold tier’ media titles covered the eBay Fashion Outlet launch - 68% of targeted gold tier titles
• 45 x hits in consumer lifestyle titles, inc. LOOK, Glamour, Vogue, OK!, Heat,
• Cosmopolitan, Closer
• PR Value: £4,894,641
• Campaign ROI: 42:1
• ‘eBay Fashion Outlet’ most common message in 2010
• ‘buy-it-now’ messaging doubled post-launch

Results: Outcome Measures

1. Drive traffic to the eBay Fashion Outlet in first month of launch
Increase in eBay Fashion Outlet traffic post-launch
Increase in traffic to the Fashion Category as a whole post-launch
(precise increases are confidential)

2. Change perception of eBay so that it becomes associated with fashion
Comparing before and after the launch activity, there was am increase in consumers associating eBay with fashion.
Julia Hutton-Potts, Head of PR, eBay Europe said of the campaign; “We can feel really proud that we put ourselves well and truly on the map with this media sector. Educating and winning over this group is crucial in enabling us to get the message across to our target buyers. The campaign was a huge milestone for us – opening the conversation with these media”