EBay and MBE Launch Cruise Sweepstakes

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Mail Boxes Etc. has created a Pack & Ship Your Cares Away sweepstakes to alert eBay members that they can now use Mail Boxes Etc. to ship their items at a discount.


The new service allows eBay members to estimate and pre-process their shipments at www.mbe.com/4ebay. This is valuable for members who are looking to give accurate quotes to auction winners.


Anyone who uses the service through Nov. 27 is automatically entered to win one of 12 seven-day cruises to the Caribbean aboard Princess Cruises. The grand prizes include round-trip airfare for two and $2,500 in spending money. One hundred first-prize winners will receive $100 American Express Gift Cheques.


"The intent is to draw a lot of excitement about the program and initiate trial," said Kurt Schusterman, senior vice president of marketing at Mail Boxes Etc., San Diego. "We were looking at different options and the cruise came up as something that our target audience would find appealing. There seems to be a commonality that would resonate."


MBE's target demographic is upscale adults ages 25 to 54. Its psychographic is service seekers who are stretched for time.


This sweepstakes was the anchor component of the official launch of MBE serving as the official packaging and shipping center for eBay. The agreement was announced last week.


The MBE Desktop Shipping Station allows users to compare shipping costs across a variety of carriers as well as to complete the paperwork before they take their packages to a local MBE center. There are 4,200 MBE centers worldwide. The Shipping Station is powered by iShip.


"You can prepare your package online, print out the document and carry it into a MBE center," said Schusterman. "It speeds up the process of the transaction at the retail location."


MBE is offering members 15 percent off packaging -- which includes materials and service -- along with eBay preferred shipping rates, which amount to 10 percent off ground shipping and 15 percent off air shipping.


To promote the agreement as well as the sweepstakes, MBE launched a $3.5 million marketing campaign. It is running ads until the middle of next month in TV Guide, Newsweek, Time and People. National radio spots will air on Westwood One and syndicated shows such as Jay Leno's radio program.


A massive banner campaign is being unfurled as well. During a two-month period, the company will run approximately 20 million impressions on high-traffic destinations, such as America Online, Excite@Home and CNET. Its enhanced presence on eBay should add another 50 million impressions, according to Schusterman. "We're trying to splash it loud."


EBay, San Jose, CA, has more than 2.1 million registered users. There are nearly 1.8 million items in 1,500 categories available regularly.
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