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The Power of a Good Narrative and Ebay.
29 Mar 2011
There was quite a lot of excitement last week over a recent Ebay listing that not only made headlines worldwide, but also raised nearly £9,000 for the earthquake victims in Japan. Dan Morgan from Cornwall placed an Ebay listing of an XCEL second-hand wetsuit, which he originally bought for £300 and had been worn almost 30 times. The listing became very personal as he told a story with a very odd but intriguing humour, which made me want to read on. I am guessing that Dan was expecting to sell the wetsuit for anything up to £100. However, due to the amount of media attention the listing began to receive, he decided to donate 90% of the sale price to the Red Cross to aid efforts in Japan. The listing immediately went viral and a number of companies including XCEL began to donate items such as brand new wetsuits, a watch, a surf board, footwear to the auction. The list goes on and overall 20 different surfing companies donated products to the auction to get a piece of the publicity.
Once Ebay realised that the listing did not comply with their policy due to ‘unprofessionalism’ and an inappropriate picture of a bear, they threatened to remove the listing. Luckily for Dan, they realised that removing a listing which is raising money for charity would be pretty bad PR and the listing remained until the end. I think it may be worth a read as it is difficult to explain how and why this worked unless you have seen the listing! It is a private listing so you will have to log in to Ebay to read it. Bear in mind that it is very long but well worth a read! The listing just shows how a great and odd piece of writing can go viral and make the headlines. Although there’s a very small chance that your content would reach these heights, it is worth keeping in mind that when you compile your next article/post, spend more time in researching the subject. This will allow you to submit an article that highlights something a little more interesting than the average ‘This season's trend’ or ‘The History of Botox.’ The more interesting the posts are, the more likely visitors will comment, like and share. This will also get some great feedback from clients. I would suggest setting up Google alerts for ALL of your clients, search real time results, Twitter and news feeds and keep on top of what’s going on in their industry as it could go a long way!