Creative Creative Works Circular Economy

eBay encourages patrons to sell pre-loved items with ‘When you buy a thing, sell a thing’


By John Glenday, Reporter

October 18, 2021 | 3 min read

eBay is encouraging members to get into the recycling habit and earn a little money too by selling off unwanted items instead of chucking them in the bin.


eBay wants customers to sell one of their old things when they buy a new thing

The online auction house is inspiring change with ‘When you buy a thing, sell a thing’ to extend the shelf life of serviceable items beyond a single owner.

Tapping into growing environmental awareness among consumers, the McCann London campaign highlights the material and emotional value unwanted goods can bring in the right hands.

Repositioning eBay as a staple of the circular economy, the campaign differentiates the brand from other e-commerce sites by reminding members that selling can be just as rewarding as buying.

Created in partnership with Craft and production house Riff Raff, the campaign centers on a bespoke musical number, contrasting the waste associated with chucking out an old TV by passing it on to someone else so that ‘like a boomerang, love comes back to you.’

Eve Williams, chief marketing officer at eBay UK, said: “eBay was founded on the principle that people are inherently good. And over 25 years later we can see how this continues to make people feel, as they pass on a much-loved treasure, or re-kindle joy in the eyes of someone else. We value how we’re helping our diverse community of buyers and sellers to make more sustainable choices. eBay can truly be everyone’s everything.”

Matt Searle and Olly Wood, creative directors at McCann London, added: “The first-ever sale on eBay was a broken laser pen. That’s right. Broken. Seemingly useless. Unable to startle a moggy or wave wisdom at a whiteboard. But someone, somewhere out there bought that thing, fixed it up and found joy in it. It’s these humble yet inspirational beginnings that continue to spark eBay’s sustainability mission today and course through the veins of this infectious film, which aspires to land a world-changing behavior that, if it caught on, could make everything a better thing.”

The nationwide campaign runs across TV, YouTube and radio, presenting audiences with a music promo set to a carefully choreographed array of household items passing between buyers and sellers.

In recent months eBay has also built its reputation as a purveyor of luxury goods with a new authentification service for high-value handbags.

eBay: When You Buy a Thing, Sell a Thing by Craft

By eBay

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