India, the online shopping and auctions website, has launched its first TV campaign in the country. Internationally, TV is not eBay's primary mode of advertising, though it has done some campaigns in the US, Germany and Ireland. The company spends heavily on search advertising instead as its target audience is people looking for specific products. The company's rollout of its TV ad campaign in India has to do with the fact that a large part of the population with access to the Internet still has not caught on to online shopping. In fact, according to JuxtConsult's Online India report, online shopping does not even figure in the top 10 activities done by the 30 million people estimated to be active online.
eBay's TV campaign consists of three 20 second films with a common theme - the embarrassment of asking a shopkeeper for a discount and being laughed at. The first TVC shows a mobile dealer asking the unseen customer how much he wants the mobile phone for and then laughing at him and asking him to go away. This is followed by a young man telling the viewer, "Shop smarter. Shop on eBay." In the last scene, the shopkeeper is seen packing up his shop.
Speaking about the campaign, Rathin Lahiri, chief marketing officer, eBay India, tells agencyfaqs!, "It will be a source of gaining offline customers. During the first few years, we focused on increasing our user base and now we want to attract offline customers." Lahiri adds that the campaign is not targeted at a mass audience, but at young people in the age-group of 21-35 years in the top 10 metros.
The campaign has been conceptualised by creative directors Deepak Agarwal and Ravindra Bugade of RMG Connect, the direct marketing arm of JWT. Elaborating on the thought behind the campaign, Agarwal says, "We researched the difference between the online and offline shopping experience. For the youth, there is an ego issue with asking for a lower price and also the embarrassment of being turned down and laughed at. We wanted to show that eBay is a 'cool' place to shop in and get products at the lowest prices."
Agarwal adds that the TVC is shot in such a way that when the shopkeeper laughs at the customer, it seems like he is laughing at the viewer, but in the end, the joke is on the shopkeeper. Though eBay had initially planned on doing one TVC, it ended up approving the three short TVCs featuring the three popular categories on the site - mobile phones, jewellery and digital cameras. "Besides, the campaign is more powerful than one film," adds Agarwal. The TVCs will run for three weeks on 12 English news, business, music and lifestyle channels.
Though eBay is primarily an auction site, 70 per cent of the sales on its Indian site are from fixed price sales. This aspect of the market is one reason the campaign focuses on the online shopping part of eBay. "Our first task is to get customers to try out online shopping. We didn't want to tell them about all our shopping formats and confuse them. It's best that they figure out what works best for them"
The company is only rolling out the campaign on TV, but it will be doing some promotions on the Internet. eBay has launched a trial generation campaign where new members looking for products in the three categories will receive free gift vouchers from the company.
There are no follow-up campaigns planned immediately; Lahiri says eBay will first evaluate the results of the current campaign.