eBay - Inspiring audiences through real stories

With an inventory of more than 50 million items – far larger than any competitor – and upwards of 20 million active users, eBay is a leader in the car parts and accessories (P&A) market. 

But not a brand to rest on its laurels, eBay wanted to defend market share and turned to DEPT® to engage its vast audience through a single 360, through the line campaign. Its biggest of 2023 nonetheless, achieving a +4ppt increase in category awareness and a +3ppt increase in perception.

Despite having such a vast inventory, eBay wasn’t top of mind amongst its community. Only after failing to find what they were looking for with competitors did customers eventually come to eBay. 

The aim of our campaign was to hero its unrivalled inventory, and the value it offers, to convince audiences to choose eBay first. 

Built different

With goals to build brand awareness for eBay as well as drive growth of the P&A category, we needed to develop a campaign concept that had the scale and flexibility to span all stages of the funnel; from hero TV ads and OOH right through to performance channels, onsite and email marketing. 

It also needed to effectively engage a broad audience, made up of people who each had unique levels of interest, skills and experience. 

To appeal to the masses while tapping into the needs of different audience groups, we had to approach this campaign differently, with a rallying cry to bring communities together. 

We needed to build from the ground up. Just like our audience. 

We developed one central idea, ‘You’re Built Different’, celebrating the range of eBayers from amateur DIYers to passionate tinkerers who all use the platform to build, repair and upcycle the vehicles they love; inspiring motor enthusiasts to do more for themselves by showing the results of the moment it all just… clicks. 

Following a group of people who see potential in a hunk of metal, turn waste into wonder, and breathe life into the unloved and wonky; ‘You’re Built Different’ allowed us to disrupt a vertical that was dominated by very functional marketing with a campaign that was emotive and authentic.

Leveraging real audience data, we developed six bespoke personas that truly represented who the campaign needed to speak to. Through this, we identified the one thing that unified our audience despite their varying needs: their tenacity to take things into their own hands. 

Off the back of these customer profiles, we wrote (and cast against) six real stories, each delivering a consistent and broad-reaching through the line message to our audience. And these six stories became the overarching thought, and building blocks, for our whole campaign.

By centralising the campaign around this one big idea, we were able to work efficiently on set, shooting the hero ads alongside capturing platform-first content, all with a consistent vision and art direction. 

Our stand-alone 15-second ads focused on a specific persona, each driven by their motivation to do it for themselves. These individual stories were then woven together, creating a single narrative that unified every person – ‘You’re Built Different’. 

The modular approach we took allowed us to flex the narrative from 6-second to 30-second placements across digital, social, AV, VOD, cinema and even 37 bespoke idents for three different channels (inc. the sponsorship of eBay sponsored Channel 4 show, Banger: Mad For Cars); all while highlighting consumer truths that enabled eBay to resonate with a broad audience.

Scalable branding

eBay had numerous promotions lined up throughout the year, and to achieve our aim of boosting brand awareness with such a far reaching campaign (and help combat misattribution) we needed to ensure consistency everywhere we showed up. 

We developed a digital campaign toolkit containing every element of the new art direction we were taking, and how it could flex up and down the funnel; making it fit for any placement.

The toolkit guaranteed consistency, helping to build trust with both enthusiasts and emerging hobbyists at the top of the funnel; while communicating eBay’s unique product offering and driving action in the lower funnel. 

The design language looked to convey eBay’s core P&A proposition in a vibrant way, utilising the iconic four colour branded elements in a landscape of more functional and traditional marketing. 

And paired with the campaign’s charming tone of voice, the consistent application of our art direction delivered a memorable brand message, achieving above benchmark scores for ‘ease of brand ID’ and ‘brand prominence’ in consumer tests.

Accelerating engagement

The emotional resonance of ‘You’re Built Different’ allowed eBay to show up authentically at major automotive events for both brands and consumers, including Goodwood Festival of Speed and the British Motor Show.

Creators and automotive experts joined Ortis Deley on the eBay Garage Live stage to talk through their own upcycling journeys, what they love about taking fixing into their own hands and how eBay is perfectly placed for all levels of vehicle restoration. 

Our brand toolkit was leveraged within eBay’s stand presence at each of these events, creating a connection between them and the wider campaign, as well as putting motoring fans at the heart of the action. We produced bespoke assets for stages, providing a consistent backdrop to all talks and captured all aspects of the events via an on-the-ground content team. 

Driving results

From one campaign concept, we created more than 600 assets. And so far, the campaign has surpassed all our brand build objectives; including a +4ppt increase in category awareness, as well as a +3ppt increase in perception scores across range, trust and sustainability since campaign launch.

By shining a light on those that transform broken into new with a little help from eBay, we helped to establish the marketplace as the destination where enthusiasm is fuelled and rewarded; whether your passion is fixing cars, building classic motorcycles, or if you’re just looking for that hard to find socket set. 


Inspiring audiences through real stories

With an inventory of more than 50M items and 20M+ active users, eBay is a leader in the car parts and accessories market. But not a brand to rest on its laurels, eBay wanted to defend market share and engage its vast audience through a single 360, through the line campaign.

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