Boxing Weekend

ebay tried to cure some holiday woes in the US this year by instituting a “Boxing Weekend,” playing on a long tradition of Boxing Day in a number of other countries.

The brand used a cultural moment of excess or unwanted gifts as an excuse to use ebay as well as their ebay Valet service.

The promotion let sellers use ebay Valet for free, and offered a number of drop-off points in Westfield malls across the country during the post-Christmas weekend.

This promotion does a number of things well, especially a contextual integration of physical and digital services with the drop-off stations in malls.  It’s also interesting to note Westfield’s willingness to play with the secondary market ebay creates in the context of their own spaces, where brands are already competing for attention and revenue.

Worth noting as well is that ebay partnered with The Onion Labs for the video promoting the Boxing Weekend extension of their #wishbigger campaign.  Fun stuff.

Streaming is a New Genre/Experience

I read an article in the New York Times yesterday about how streaming video (the new format that we’re just figuring out from companies like Netflix and Amazon) is changing the art of making shows.  The article asks about what the nature of this new genre is – yes, it’s an entirely new genre.

HotSauce Today

As much as the experience is dictating new aesthetic trends in filmed comedy and drama, it also means that many consumers (probably all of the ones we deal with digitally speaking) are accustomed to this intermediate zone that isn’t fast-paced browsing of social sites or hot triends, and isn’t down-time in front of the TV or a proper movie.

There is an opportunity to mirror this experience for brands. “The Suck,” as the pull of binge-watching is termed, is something that we can leverage for clients.  Designing experiences that allow a narrative to wash over the viewer can have advantages that are simply unachievable in situations that demand more user input.

Likewise, advertising in and around these shows becomes a different proposition.  Viewers looking for a show to binge on or those just coming off a binge may have different behaviors than those just searching the web (more study needed here)

Some opportunities that come to mind are:

  • Brands that have complicated but unglamorous products (USPS)
  • Brands that have extraordinarily complex, perhaps misunderstood products (Lockheed Martin)
  • Brands that have a decentralized set of sub brands that need to be brought together by a story (Choice Hotels)
  • Any re-branding effort with a major content push (think what could have been done with a documentary of Colonel Sanders’ life for the new KFC brand)

As always, these ideas may not be directly achievable with current budgets – hopefully declining production costs will improve this.  However, understanding this new genre and behavior will help to bridge the gap between content consumers commit to and plain-old-ads.