Goodby Turns Its Attention to eBay’s Motor Division

Online auction house eBay is shifting its marketing focus to car buyers in a new national print campaign by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. The ads for the eBay Motors division represent a repositioning of the entire eBay brand with the recurring headline, “Everybody needs something.”

The ads are running in the September issues of Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Road & Track and other magazines for car collectors and motorcycle owners.

The work is a key component of the 1-year-old motor division’s first online and offline marketing push. The client declined to disclose spending, but industry estimates peg the marketing budget at $8-10 million.

The campaign is designed to reach the broad auto-buying audience as well as “hard-core car and motorcycle enthusiasts who influence the buying habits of family and friends,” said Susan Phillips, director of marketing for eBay Motors.

Phillips, who earlier in her career worked for Arnold in Boston and Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco, said most consumers are aware of the eBay brand name and the breadth of products on its site. “We want to transfer that awareness to the experience of buying a vehicle,” she said. “It’s a way to stretch the brand.”

Using exaggeration and humor, the ads by the San Francisco agency seek to show the range of used vehicles and possible bargains on the site.

Each ad shows an exaggerated scene of a person using an unlikely form of transportation—a beauty queen riding a shopping cart in a small-town parade; a man visiting a drive-through window on a pony. Alongside are product shots of more appropriate vehicles. Along with the headline “Everybody needs something,” there is the eBay logo and a block of text. Copy notes, “We’ve got a million [cars] … well, a lot anyway. We’re eBay for crying out loud.”

The main eBay brand is getting a related campaign that uses variations of the same headline, sources said. Overall, eBay is trying to expand from its identity as an auction site for collectibles to a marketplace for practical everyday goods.