Observed in the wild: poor quality social advertising from eBay

In the UK, eBay has been running YouTube adverts (pre-rolls). 2 different adverts, one of which is reputation damaging content: “get your winter motoring needs on eBay”.

In the UK, it’s not really worth pushing winter motoring as a theme much beyond end Jan. End March/early April is usually way too late for “winter”; although cold weather/snow at Easter (even a late Easter in April) is not unheard of in the UK, it’s rare and the long term weather forecasts for the last few weeks haven’t been signalling a potential for anything worse than a brief night-time frost in known “cold pocket” areas, nothing that would need purchases of specific winter motoring products.

What are they thinking?


I read that as we need to drive traffic/audience to eBay Motors (which I believe they can spin off in Europe).

eBay has never been terribly good at merchandising. Is anyone surprised?

Smells of the leadership merri-go round. This was on someone’s to do list before they get promoted. Box ticked

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Reminds me of keyword ads that I saw eBay purchasing on search engines years ago. The brilliant people in charge of those campaigns apparently decided that they had everything and so that could be fully automated. My favorite was the ad “Find your nuclear weapons on eBay - the marketplace for everything” or something close to that. The “nuclear weapons” string must have been a top search term and automatically went into their ad campaign without any review to see if this was actually something that they had or would be appropriate. I used to have a screenshot of encountering that and other similar which were obviously automated ad campaigns with no one actually paying proper attention, but I can’t find those right now. It follows the standard pattern of starting a project and then transferring to another team, so the missteps found later are always dismissed by the current team as “that was before I got here”.

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eBay was always one giant game of kick the can.

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It’s the standard “big company” mentality, where no one wants to make or be responsible for any decisions, and they all agree to shuffle around often enough to never have to follow up on anything where they might have previously held responsibility.