Ahead of the Holidays, OpenSky Releases Its First TV Commercial

OpenSky is launching its first-ever TV commercial today as it prepares to enter the crazy holiday shopping season.

The 30-second spot shows a day in the life of a woman who uses products she discovered on OpenSky, including a meat and cheese platter recommended by Bobby Flay, an iPhone case from Alicia Silverstone and perfume from actress Mariel Hemingway.

As the company gets ready for its second-ever Christmas season, OpenSky founder and CEO John Caplan calls the TV commercial a “modest test” to tell the world about the emerging commerce company. The commercial, created by ad agency dw+h, officially begins airing today on Bravo, the Food Network and HGTV.

Since its start in 2011, the company has been focused on connections-based e-commerce, meaning that consumers “follow” people on their network to receive product recommendations. The end result is that consumers can find new items serendipitously, much like scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook, rather than entering terms into a search bar. “In traditional e-commerce, consumers suffer from the paradox of choice,” Caplan said. “And in connections-driven commerce, everything they’ve seen is relevant to who you are. It’s entertaining and it’s engaging.”

A year ago, the company raised $30 million in capital; today, it has two million members who have made more than 30 million connections. In six words, he boldly calls it, “Pinterest with a universal shopping cart.”

Some of the company’s other metrics are also trending in the right direction: The average repeat buyer makes seven purchases a year and places an order size of around $85. Caplan declined to provide the company’s annual revenue, but said sales jumped almost 50 percent between August and September. During a recent week, sales topped $700,000.

The company provides plenty of incentive for experts to become product endorsers since they receive a share of the gross profit from each item sold. Shaquille O’Neal, who recently joined, already has 180,000 connections and has adopted the theme of doing “the shopping for the kid in all of us.” In a video, he recommends a turntable that plugs into your computer and converts vinyl to digital, while telling folks to follow him at OpenSky.com/shaq. Honestly, it’s more entertaining to watch than OpenSky’s commercial, but here’s that anyway:


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus