Sneaker culture is all about the drop. From retail store drops with lines forming hours in advance to mobile drops with millions vying for gear via apps like SNKRS. With brands like Nike, Kith and Supreme, who drive the style and production of their own goods dominating the ‘drop culture,’ eBay approached us with the challenge to host the biggest sneaker drop for the holidays.
Two features that make the sneaker drop brands so successful are their brick & mortar physical store space and the fact that they produce their own sneakers. How could we combat this for eBay given it doesn’t have either? The answer was its inventory. By tapping into eBay’s vast inventory across its platform, eBay could stand out by having the biggest drop sneakerheads had ever seen.
STRATEGY & EXECUTION
The team wanted to move away from the traditional sneaker drop execution, which was similar to a lottery system, and instead create a more playful game that engaged sellers and buyers alike. Enter the eBay Santa Sneaker Drop, an innovative new take on the sneaker drop, with a holiday twist.
The story led with a partnership with NBA All-Pro, Anthony Davis who was trying to help Santa Claus deliver presents, and in the process, he lost 500 pairs of shoes that needed to be found. In the story, eBay, which is known for helping sneakerheads find hard-to-find sneakers, stepped in with an assist by creating an A/R-powered mobile sneaker drop that sneakerheads could play from anywhere to win free shoes that fell down a virtual chimney.
Anyone with an A/R-enabled phone could play. They simply visited eBay’s mobile site to enter the drop and chose a location for their virtual fireplace. It would build on their screen and receive a present down the chimney in the form of either coal or free sneakers. Players got up to five chances per day to play and eBay gave away over 500 shoes in just 3 days.
eBay partnered with a digital boutique specializing in A/R activations to build the platform, partnering with our team on the conception, design and build of the full mobile experience…in just 3 weeks.
The eBay Santa Sneaker Drop was a massive success across the board. There were over 2 million entries in just 72 hours. Nearly every person who entered used all 5 of their chances per day, showing sneakerheads were engaged and the experience was fun to play even after the first try.
On social, the positive outpouring was overwhelming with over 875,000 social engagements during the drop. Even those who didn't win commented on how much they loved playing the A/R game and interacting with a new style of drop.
The drop was an earned hit and was covered by outlets across the U.S., helping spread the word and accelerate the hype. Coverage ranged from publications targeted at the sneaker community like Sole Collector, Footwear News, Nice Kicks, and BroBible, to huge national players like Yahoo! Sports, ABC News, and Good Morning America. The coverage blanketed the internet like fresh Christmas snow generating over 2 billion earned impressions in just 3 days.
Most importantly, the Santa Sneaker Drop got the entire sneaker community talking about eBay again. It also got millions of Millennial and Gen Z sneakerheads seeing eBay in a new light and proclaiming that eBay had the biggest sneaker drop of the year.