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How eBay Kick Started A ‘Pre-Loved’ Revolution in the UK

eBay UK & EssenceMediacom were recipients of the Fashion bCreator Marketing Campaign of the Year Award for their Pre-Loved Island campaign. With the rise of fast fashion, eBay has positioned itself as the go-to place for those who are conscious of making more sustainable style choices with their ‘pre-loved’ clothing range.

To increase awareness amongst the younger generation, eBay UK partnered with one of the most trendy and talked about shows on social media for this sector, Love Island. We spoke to Tara Harris, the Account Director for eBay UK at EssenceMediacom, all about the different elements involved in this campaign and the incredible results it achieved.

EssenceMediacom attending the bCreator Awards

How did you find creators to work with on this campaign?

The eBay Pre-Loved Island campaign was a bit different to lots of other creator marketing campaigns because the influencer element was one part of something much bigger – eBay becoming the fashion partner of Love Island on ITV2 (it has more recently become the headline sponsor).

There have been loads of brilliant agencies and partners involved, from us at EssenceMediacom working with ITV to devise and develop the Love Island partnership, to McCann and DEPT who created many of the campaign assets and Seen Connects who manage the talent.

The creator selection was easier of course – and the pool of talent smaller – because our idea was to work with some of the islanders once the show had finished. And it was Tasha Ghouri, from season 8 who, with her natural flair for fashion and strong personal style, particularly caught the eye of eBay’s Love Island stylist, Amy Bannerman. 

When did this campaign idea initially start and what were the biggest challenges you faced?

The campaign came about because of an important insight and idea around the rise of fast fashion – cheap and trendy clothes that were dominating the wardrobes of young Brits across the UK. While many of this younger generation claim to prioritise sustainable living, second-hand clothes didn’t have anywhere near the mass appeal of fast fashion.

eBay, meanwhile, has been selling ‘pre-loved’ clothes since 1995. But as the original marketplace for second-hand goods, it needed to do more to change young people’s views.

We did it by partnering with Love Island – the cultural juggernaut and fashion trendsetter – and making eBay its first-ever ‘pre-loved partner’. But this was a risk, of course, especially in asking islanders to wear second-hand clothes on the show. Luckily, with eBay, we have an incredibly extensive and stylish wardrobe to choose from!

Can you share some of the results and/or feedback you received after the content went live?

What was incredible about this campaign was that every press article about that new series of Love Island seemed to mention eBay. In fact, we had over 1,700 pieces of positive press coverage from our first season’s partnership alone. What’s more, eBay itself saw more people looking for second-hand clothes than ever before, with searches for ‘pre-loved fashion’ on the site seeing an astonishing 7,000% increase

The bCreator Awards was sponsored by Virgin Voyages

While eBay became the first choice for pre-loved fashion in the UK, we know the pre-loved revolution will take time. That’s exactly why we’ve continued working so closely with ITV on the more recent seasons of Love Island, but also continue to work with Tasha and, since May 2023, our new ambassador, Tom Clare. They both have a natural affinity for styling with a real love of sustainable fashion. They’ve been brilliant spokespeople for the brand.

How have previous campaigns shaped your approach to this one, have you found a winning formula or do you try something new each time?

Creator marketing is often created in a silo, which can work perfectly for some campaigns, but in this one, it was a crucial element of a fully integrated partnership. This is an approach we have developed over time with many brands and partners.

What made this one so special was launching it with pre-loved product placement – with eBay providing Islanders with a wardrobe of second-hand clothes, all chosen by Amy Bannerman. This approach immediately created individual and on-trend looks in what is, of course, a hugely influential TV show. And that’s before we even turned to social media.

On social platforms, we created videos showing contestants unboxing the pre-loved clothes (all from eBay packaging) and talking through their favourite looks. And for the show’s big moments – such as parties and bombshell dates – we created shoppable edits of pre-loved pieces like those seen on screen. We even created live auctions with the chance to bid on over 40 of the season’s most coveted outfits. 

The continuation of social content fronted by Tasha and Tom really has been the cherry on top of a hugely influential and important campaign for eBay.

The bCreator Awards celebrates the best of the creator economy in the UK. The event took place on the 10th October at the Roundhouse with headline sponsor Virgin Voyages and supporting headline sponsor YouTube.