EBay Calling For Help

Online Auction House Targets Goodby, Others
SAN FRANCISCO–Online auction house eBay is talking with several agencies nationwide about handling the creative portion of its estimated $15-20 million ad account, according to sources.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, and BBDO have been contacted, said sources. The two Pepsi-Cola Co. roster shops were recommended by Brian Swette, formerly Pepsi’s chief marketing officer, who is now senior vice president of marketing for eBay in San Jose, Calif., sources added. Ogilvy & Mather, New York, which handles eBay’s media buying, was also contacted, sources said. Agency executives were either unavailable or declined comment.
EBay would not confirm a review. Kristin Seuell, an eBay representative, did say, however, “We are a fast-growing company. As we continue to build, we must weigh our options and think about what we must do in the future to be a world-class brand.”
Earlier this year, eBay hired startup strategic and creative consultancy Acme Idea Co., Norwalk, Conn., for a print and radio effort. That work used the tagline, “You might just find it on eBay” [Adweek, Nov. 8].
Carol Herman, a partner at Acme, said she was aware of eBay’s “informal” search. “As a consultancy we do not handle the long-term management of [ad] accounts,” she said. Herman added that it was likely that a new agency would work with Acme, although a role “with any new resource is not clear at this point.”
Sources said eBay may ask its new shop to handle direct response, event planning and public relations duties, in addition to advertising, which may involve an emphasis on TV in 1999.
EBay specializes in one-to-one trading in an auction format on the Web (www.ebay.com). The company reported third quarter revenues of $12.9 million.