Irfanvertising | Ebay Shows the Way

Irfanvertising LogoYou are not among the top three e-commerce sites in India. You didn’t go in for a logo change recently, or even about a year back. You in fact have struggled with an identity change since you entered India: you were an online auction site in the US and, since that concept was new here and never did catch on, you then became an e-tailer, like many of the others. You were launching your festive season campaign much later than the others, and perhaps with shallower pockets. And you don’t seem to have any discounts on your site, or at least in your advertising. How then do you stand out?

You do something radical.

That’s what has done with its festive season campaign, #ThingsDontJudge. The TVC begins with an “obviously” effete guy practicing Bharatanatyam. Your eyes open wider with what happens two sequences down the line: a guy on his knees, wedding band in hand (yes, a guy with a wedding band), proposing to… another guy. And both are everyday-looking guys. That’s the more radical part.

After this, the other sequences might seem less “rad” in comparison. But they have their own charm, speaking with their intended audience in their own ways. A homemaker rests her visibly tired feet and body on a recliner. Yes, homemakers needing rest is a revolutionary idea in many an Indian household. And finally, a gran skipping to her inner child’s content in a park. Nothing great about that, for you’ve seen that in tons of commercials, right? Yes, while this one might seem the softest one, when you see the audience it’s targeting – getting an older generation to think of buying online, even as something as simple as a skipping rope – that is sensational.

When I see impressive commercials such as these (all the YouTube comments I scrolled through were mostly positive, and some even said that ebay is suddenly their most favourite e-commerce site; so, advertising, nay, good advertising works, no?), I try backtracking. How would they have arrived at this? What insight would they have worked with? What inspiring message from the servicing person in the brief and briefing (hopefully) would have given them this flight of fancy?

In this case, it seems quite work-out-able. An advantage of buying stuff online is that the seller, unlike in a brick-and-mortar store, doesn’t really see who you are and therefore doesn’t form an opinion of you – whether you are too old for something, that you are a man buying a “woman’s product”, what use you’ll put it to… And therefore, you can go ahead and buy it without fear of the attendant judging you, or in other words, as it addresses in the commercial too, “log kya kahenge” (that perennial Indian fear of “what will people say?”).

Well, most people seem to be saying, “Yay!” Both to ebay and its advertising. This is sure to go well with the award judges.


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