Celebrities looking for a safe place to raise money for favorite charities and connect with fans are signing on with eBay. On Monday, the company announced the launch of eBay.com/celebrity, a new venture that combines celebrity experiences, memorabilia and merchandise with philanthropic causes. As part of eBay’s charitable platform eBay Giving Works, eBay Celebrity establishes a differentiated experience for the shopping enthusiast and cause-oriented consumer by aggregating relevant celebrity content, charity auctions, and the breadth and selection of related products that are unique to eBay.
So far, a few current sports stars are on the roster including Steelers’ safety Troy Polamalu, NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson, former Laker Michael Cooper and boxer Vladimir Klitschko, but the list of participants is expected to expand. Other celebs involved at launch include Christina Aguilera, Jeff Bridges, Michael Cooper, Robert Duvall, Sienna Miller, Hayden Panettiere, Katy Perry, Brad Pitt, Tarina Tarantino, and Joe Walsh.
Cooper is currently auctioning part of his collection of signed jerseys and memorabilia including Stan Musial, Emmitt Smith, Maury Wills and even a lithograph with a cut Steve Prefontaine autograph.
eBay has made a splash with its recent celebrity-flavored auctions. One featuring limited edition Nike Mag sneakers raised millions of dollars for The Michael J. Fox Foundation and an annual lunch with Warren Buffet auction sold for a record $2.63 million. In 2011, eBay Giving Works has raised $51 million and over $278 million to date for various charitable organizations. eBay Celebrity takes charitable fundraising to the next level, connecting consumers with their favorite celebrities through charity and commerce.
eBay Celebrity will continue to offer exclusive charity auction items for consumers to get up close and personal with their favorite celebrities through the purchase of one-of-a-kind merchandise, concert tickets, and meet and greet opportunities. Consumers and pop culture enthusiasts will also be able to shop and give back in several ways including selling or shopping to support a cause, making a donation at checkout, donating directly through PayPal, and using the “shop like a star” feature which provides an inside look at featured celebrities’ favorite items. Celebrities themselves will interact with consumers through original content, video and message boards.
The first round of charity auction items available on eBay Celebrity also includes a chance to attend Pitt’s “A Night to Make It Right” gala at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans on March 10. Consumers can bid on tickets to the event along with a personal meet and greet with the star of Moneyball. Additional auction items that will become available throughout November include memorabilia from notable personalities such as Sienna Miller benefitting International Medical Corps, Jeff Bridges benefitting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign™, Katy Perry benefitting the American Red Cross, Hayden Panettiere benefitting The Whaleman Foundation, and Tarina Tarantino benefitting Art of Elysium.
“After Hurricane Katrina, many people said the New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward could not be rebuilt, but the spirit of the Lower 9th and its residents is vibrant and resilient. Today the neighborhood is growing and alive with new homes, playgrounds, gardens and block parties,” said Pitt, founder of Make It Right, a non-profit that builds sustainable homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and other disadvantaged communities. “With the help of supporters like eBay and their customers, Make It Right will fulfill our goal of building 150 sustainable homes for those in this community who lost everything in the storm.”
eBay Giving Works is an eight year-old program that offers opportunities for eBay sellers and buyers to support their favorite nonprofits. You can see the rest of the eBay Celebrities, their causes and auctions here.