Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

"Come to Think of It, eBay"–Is That a Killer Ad Motto or a Desperate Plea for Attention? (Plus Old Commericals!)


BoomTown–fresh from slapping around six graders caught in a Bing stupor and commenting on the use of restaurant-seeking vampires by Microsoft (MSFT)–is also not quite sure what to think of another new advertising campaign from an Internet giant.

This time, it is coming from eBay (EBAY).

With the tagline, “Come to Think of It, eBay,” the ads start today, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, to “boost its standing as a holiday shopping destination.”

Interestingly, the new marketing campaign in print, television and online–the first for the Web commerce giant in 18 months–has been crafted by San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which has also just nabbed the lead role in the $100 million advertising campaign by Yahoo (YHOO).

Goodby, owned by the Omnicom Group (OMC), is known for its innovative ideas and has done such memorable campaigns as the Slowsky turtles for Comcast (CMCSA), the weird folk of Emerald Nuts, owned by Diamond Foods (DMND)–as well as campaigns for tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Adobe Systems (ADBE) and Netflix (NFLX).

Still, Goodby might be getting a little too cute here, because “Come to Think of It” could remind consumers exactly how much they have forgotten about eBay.

At best, “come to think of it” is a double-edged sword.

In a good scenario: “Come to think of it, I really haven’t listened to my ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ album in forever and I really want to hear it again.”

In a bad scenario: “An old girlfriend of mine is trying to friend me on Facebook–but, come to think of it, she was pretty freaky and I am very scared she found me again.”

You get the idea! Come to think of it: Play at home!

Actually, according to the Journal story, Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay’s marketplace operations, is pushing a different meaning of the phrase: “to shift the buyer perception of what eBay is today.”

The San Jose, Calif.-based company has to shift perceptions since it has seen its core marketplace business suffer, even as it has advertised less.

Here’s a video of one of the new ads, as well as some past ones–all of which include an unusual amount of Broadway-style singing, dancing and egregiously fabulous frolicking for a company led by then-CEO Meg Whitman.

But, come to think of it, Meg: Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

And, I could not resist adding at the end Weird Al Yankovic’s funny parody song about eBay, with video clips synched.


“Come to Think of It, eBay”:

“On eBay”:

“That’s on, eBay”:

“Do It, eBay”:

“Found It on eBay” by Weird Al Yankovic:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work