Don’t Be Like These Horrible Gift Givers, Say eBay’s New Holiday Ads

Online retailer casts itself as the cure for bad shopping

A new holiday campaign from eBay is imploring viewers not to “shop like everybody else.” Because apparently, everybody else gives garbage gifts.

In four new ads from 72andSunny, awkward gift-givers stare at the camera while making excuses for their lame offerings. “It’s the thing from the link you sent us,” says a timid middle-aged woman in a 30-second TV spot, holding out a box with a green ribbon, as her husband scowls beside her. “I found the perfect gift for you,” beams another, younger woman. “But it wouldn’t ship in time, so I just … texted you a photo,” she explains, toying with her phone as a telltale tone signals just how behind the ball she really is.

A third woman who refuses to speak, or even make eye contact, may be the highlight of that ad—a montage of multiple scenarios.

“This year, shop eBay for brand-new, near new, and totally you gifts,” promises the voiceover (though a listener might be forgiven for catching the implication on that last descriptor that the site also offers “totally used” options).

Three shorter :15s, meanwhile, are arguably more persuasive, better capturing the uneasiness of each off-kilter vignette. In one, titled “Just As Good,” a giddily clueless young man half-apologizes to the camera. “That tablet you wanted seemed pretty expensive,” he says. “So I got you one no one’s ever heard of.”

“I got it from the same place I bought your present from last year,” says a fourth woman. “And the year before that,” she continues. “And … the year before that,” she stammers, realizing her error in real-time.

The somewhat tepid appeal to individualistic shopping—both the “Shop like nobody else” positioning and the “Fill your cart with color” tagline—continue a tack laid out in ads launched this summer. (That was the first eBay work out of 72andSunny.) The new spots are somewhat less clichéd and more sympathetic than the earlier anthem commercial. Odds are everyone’s received a wonkily delivered present at some point or another, if not perpetrated one themselves.

If it seems early for holiday marketing, eBay would defend its take on Christmas creep with a study it commissioned that found 45 percent of Americans start their gift shopping “well before Black Friday.” To that end, the company is offering daily deals on various items until Nov. 9, and the option to filter items by one-day, two-day and three-day shipping, for convenience.

Or, for totally free, you can just go back to Benicio del Toro and Jeff Goldblum for demonstrations on how to fake enthusiasm for the gifts you don’t actually want.