Pity the poor billion-dollar giant eBay, if you can. They seemed to have reached a certain plateau in their online auction sales platform, and are now pushing their latest marketing effort out to the people in the form of a “Shop Victoriously” campaign. Edelman, their PR firm, contacted me to write about the “psychology of winning” and promote eBay’s video series website on this topic. (For what it’s worth, I enjoy eBay, am an active user, and enjoy the TV commercials of this campaign, so my expectations were probably pretty high.)
Well, after viewing their humungo flash-based website, I just couldn’t. Load times for me, even on a broadband connection, took nearly a full minute, not a second or two as I experience with most websites. Then as I attempted to watch the videos, a banner airplane kept flying across the screen saying “Win $50,000!” Wow, that’s great guys. Pick a single message and stick with it — if you want me to watch a video, don’t interrupt the video every 10 seconds with a stupid flying animation that actually obstructs the video!
I was also annoyed by the lack of a timeline on the videos and how long it took to actually get past the topic’s intro portion (you have to watch it, there’s no controls for the video on the site). Without the timeline, I don’t know if you’re asking for 2 minutes of my life, or 20 minutes (and frankly, didn’t find the content all that engaging for either). I might’ve been persuaded to link to the videos if they were on You Tube, but I couldn’t find them over there at all. I guess going to this particular eBay website is more important to eBay than the message itself.
I know, I know, it’s supposed to be fun and tongue-in-cheek, but honestly, you need to create a better and quicker user experience from the get-go. The site is a perfect example of style over substance, of “cute animations” interfering with whatever the marketing message was supposed to be. Basically, of everything that you could do wrong with a marketing campaign website.
So no, I won’t really be writing about the “psychology of winning” in this entry. Perhaps another time. And I’ll keep using eBay, but I didn’t really need any reminder to do so (since they have no real competition of which to speak).