You may have noticed eBay's new TV commercial featuring a "Barbie Doll & Dancin Fun Horse" toy. That was no coincidence - eBay is actively working to promote Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls.
eBay sent an email to its users this week exclusively devoted to Mattel's store on eBay. The subject line of eBay's email was "An entire toy store, right at your fingertips." The email offered recipients a special deal: Buy One Mattel Toy, Get One 50% Off!
And featured prominently in the email to eBay shoppers was a "Barbie Doll & Dancin Fun Horse," like the one featured in the eBay commercial.
One EcommerceBytes reader had already pointed out
that eBay's new TV commercial didn't make complete sense to them. Calling it a missed opportunity, they wrote, "eBay has (Hatchimal toys) trending as one of their most popular toys this season yet has this little girl gasping in awe over a ... Barbie doll." (Hatchimals are made by another company, Spin Master.)
According to Mattel's feedback profile on eBay, it launched on the marketplace in September - and it has accumulated 109 positive feedback ratings and perfect DSR scores across the board.
Thinking of the sellers who might be worried that the relationship between eBay and Mattel could hurt their own standings in search results, we did a search on eBay for "Barbie doll." We found that 49 of the first 50 listings shown in search results were from sellers other than Mattel. But the one item from Mattel popped out at us thanks to the company's logo being prominently featured in the results page. It also featured the BOGO offer right on the search results page: "Limited time only, buy 1, get 1 50% off!!"
The Mattel listing ranked third, right above two sponsored listings where sellers had paid to get higher exposure in search.
The Mattel eBay Store also speaks to brands' approach to direct selling, no longer as fearful of competing with their own customers (retailers).
What might escape the recipients of the email that eBay sent on behalf of Mattel: "Sponsored by Mattel."
Any guesses as to how much eBay charges for exclusive advertising emails? Or for product placement in eBay's TV ads?