Client: eBay UK
Title: Dream Transfer
Date Of Campaign: 7 January 2022
Background: Once the jewel in the crown of the dot-com era, eBay has, in recent years, struggled to compete with marketplace superpowers like Amazon. eBay''''s key point of difference from these competitors is that it was founded on being the people’s marketplace for all. eBay needed to showcase this ethos and more importantly, reignite its brand’s cultural relevance in 2022 in the eyes of the wider UK public. They needed something to really put the brand back on the map and back into conversations at pubs, corner shops and living rooms up and down the country. eBay has always been driven by democratising commerce and wanted to target an overly-exclusive and overly-elitist moment in modern culture, one that could do with a bit of eBay, and democratise it. The January Transfer window is a coveted date in the footballing calendar dominated by rich owners and eye-watering wages. It’s normally a closed shop, reserved for the elite. But we wanted to change that, and rewrite the rules, in a big way.
Idea: Every weekend in the UK, 2 million amateurs wake up early, lace their boots, and head out to play on the worst pitches the nation has to offer. And they love it. Sunday League isn’t just a style of play, it’s a style of life. Communities brought together by the love of football make Sunday League the most participated-in activity in the UK, and the most iconic cultural attitude of the sport.eBay, the world''''s most democratic marketplace, believes in people having the power. So we leveraged the negative sentiment for football''''s elite to communicate this ethos. Reminding the world that football isn''''t all about money, but passion and community. For the first time ever, we brought Super League attention to Sunday League.We hijacked football''''s most talked about and most exclusive cultural commerce event, The January Transfer Window, to launch eBay’s own ‘Dream Transfer’. We listed legendary footballers on eBay for any Sunday League team to bid on, creating our own democratised version of the transfer market, open to all. Instead of the millions usually spent by football fat cats, bids on eBay cost just £5 and raised money for a youth charity supporting access to education through a shared passion for football. We tapped up World Cup legend Roberto Carlos, and Serie A superstar, Eni Aluko, to be transfer-listed using their iconic names and faces across executions in Social and Digital to meet football fans right where they are - jumping on the wave of Transfer Window speculation and launching the campaign into popular culture. We also made use of our talent''''s own social channels to drive even further conversation around the Dream Transfer. Legendary Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara also joined the bill to act as a familiar voice and bring even more of big football''''s real drama to Sunday League teams up and down the country. Social & Digital broke the big news as we met football fans where they discuss and follow football. From there, things took off in the press with coverage across TV, radio, print, and chats in pubs.
Results: During the campaign, Sunday League and eBay rose to the top of the football conversation. Roberto Carlos playing for Shrewsbury’s Bull in the Barne United reached a readership of 3.2 million in the weekend''''s national papers making The Sunday League side more talked about than any other Premier League club that weekend. Overall, eBay’s Dream Transfer secured 778 placements, including 20 TV features; 162 radio segments; 75 articles in national publications (including 7 of the major sports pages), 214 articles in regional titles and 302 pieces in sports and lifestyle titles. Between the launch, in early January and the matches in March, all major broadcasters including BBC One, ITV, Channel 4, Sky Sports and Channel 5 News reported on eBay’s Dream Transfer. News of the signings for each of the legendary footballers and their subsequent match days reached approximately 6.9 million viewers through TV outlets alone.100% of all press coverage had positive or neutral sentiment and while the campaign was live eBay''''s sentiment on social increased by 50%.