GET INVOLVED     |     ISSUES     |     NEWSROOM     |     RESOURCES     |     ABOUT US     |     CONTRIBUTE     |     SEARCH  
 
 
 

 

 

 

Dell, eBay, Sephora Offer Virtual Gifts on Facebook
A New Frontier in Social Network Ads?

Maxwell Lakin
Advertising Age
November 26, 2008


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Digital gifts used to mean iPods and GPS devices. Call it a product of a flagging economy, or maybe even eco-conscious guilt, but the term has come to entail something entirely different -- not to mention weightless and wholly pixilated.

Virtual gifts -- tiny icons displayed on user profiles, pioneered by Facebook as the intangible present of choice -- are being employed by several major companies this season.

Facebook's current holiday promotion, which officially went live at midnight, features gifts sponsored by Dell, eBay and Sephora. Each company is offering one of its 250,000 allotted virtual incarnations for free through the holiday weekend in hopes of drumming up conversation and a little zeal for actual products should it come time to leave the computer.

Going fast

Since the three shopping virtual gifts launched overnight, Facebook already had more than 30,000 given by users, and that's "growing now that it's daytime," e-mailed Matt Hicks, a Facebook corporate communications exec.

Each of the companies' gifts is part of a broader Facebook marketing campaign, which entail engagement ads, personalized e-cards and community fan bases. According to Tom Arrix, VP-sales for Facebook, the gift promotion is designed to drive fan usage of brand names and, ultimately, retail decisions.

"They certainly bring the brand to life," he said.

This certainly isn't the first time a company has been digitized as a Facebook keepsake. Ben & Jerry's promoted their free Election Day scoop with a virtual ice cream cone. The day after, while there was a run on newspaper hard copies, a digital New York Times proclaimed Barack Obama's victory neatly from thousands of profiles. Even movie releases like "Indiana Jones" and "Sex and the City" got their virtual due in the social marketplace.

Priced to move

And while many of the site's gifts are free, including those in this weekend's promotion, plenty others go for $1. And users buy. More than 60 million gifts have been given since Facebook's Gift Shop launched in February 2007, which includes free gifts, sponsored gifts and paid gifts.

Jeremy Liew, a venture capitalist with the international firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, places Facebook's virtual gifts at a $35 million run rate. And, not unlike the physical retail climate, where around 40% of sales come in the last eight weeks of the year, Facebook gifts see a run in the same time frame, with year-end holiday-themed gifts getting the most paid traction annually.

 

STAY INFORMED

 


    

Bookmark and Share

 

 

This article is copyrighted material, the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner

 

     

Website Designed & Maintained By: AfterFive by Design, Inc.
CCFC Logo And Fact Sheets By:
MonicaGraphicDesign.com

Copyright 2004 Commercial Free Childhood. All rights reserved