PayPal - Turning nothing time into shopping time


The greatest challenge for this campaign was getting Australians to have a paradigm shift in the way they think about Christmas shopping. At the moment when people think of Christmas shopping they think of busy stressful shopping centres. This year PayPal wanted to inspire Australians to use their most productive tool – their smartphone – to change the Christmas shopping experience. To tick things off the Christmas list faster, more easily and with greater convenience.

Four key insights underpinned Havas Media’s approach:

1. Consumers often associate Christmas shopping with stressful times (shopping centres with crowed aisles, last minute) -> PayPal offers consumers the convenience of not having to experience stressful Christmas shopping

2. Australians are increasingly turning to their smartphones in their idle moments throughout the day, watching cat videos, updating their social feeds and playing games -> There are lots of moments in people’s day when they’re sitting around doing nothing (downtime moments) where they could be doing something useful like getting their Christmas shopping done

3. Consumers love the feeling of having Christmas nailed -> With PayPal, consumers benefit from great advantages (free shipping, discount with some merchants) that will allow them to bask in the glow of having Christmas sorted

4. Australians expect to spend around 46 hours getting ready for Christmas – a whopping five times more hours than is actually spent celebrating the day (8 hours on average)


People have a tense relationship with Christmas shopping; spending stressful hours battling crowds and generally feeling so stressed as to undermine the real joy in gift giving. At the same time these stressed and time pressured consumers spend hours watching cat videos or trawling gossip. Havas Media saw the opportunity to link these seemingly separate insights and create the notion of ‘nothing time’. Once ‘nothing time’ was defined it could position using it differently as the solution to Christmas shopping woes. The faster, smarter way to get to the pleasure of having Christmas sorted was already in the palm of your hand if only you’d get off Facebook. 

The agency inverted the traditional approach to media strategy. Rather than mass reach it would sort out niche relevance. Rather than engagement it knew it needed apathy. Rather than integrate into what was being viewed Havas Media actively sort to divert consumers into a completely different activity. It wanted consumers to be bored, disengaged and unproductive.

Use your nothing time to shop online.

The agency identified environments when consumers were most likely to have downtime moments and use their phone to while away the time. It bought lots of different but relevant dwell time media placements and created messages tailored to the context. Every message was designed to encourage the consumer to stop what they were doing and act immediately.


For the idea to work Havas Media needed to really understand what people were doing in various environments and whether the potential existed to get them to shop instead. To understand this it commissioned research that allowed to confidently isolate environments where the audience had both high dwell time & low engagement.  It used this knowledge to create a matrix of ideal channels and work with creative partners to match media and message.

The resulting approach meant that rather than relying on buying attention through blanket messages across predictable touch-points, it developed over 50 bespoke messages delivered into over 100 touch-points.

Every touch point was perfectly crafted to the strategy. At airport lounges, it encouraged online check in so the extra time could be spent online shopping. Homepage takeovers prompted consumers to swap celebrity breakup gossip for clearing the Christmas present list. On email sites it asked if people needed a detox from their inbox and suggested they Christmas shop instead. In office toilets it suggested that people stop just sitting there and get on with their Christmas shopping. It even persuaded audiences to skip PayPal’s own pre-rolls to shop online instead.

In addition to tailoring messages it tailored time. Havas Media employed time targeting to limit communication windows to commuting hours making mobile and tablet even more relevant and actionable.

The resulting campaign surrounded consumers in what felt like a highly personal and pertinent way. People were able to recognise their own time wasting behaviours and change them.


Objective #1: Encourage consumers to shop online via Paypal during Christmas. Measured by % increase year on year in total payment volume. Result #1: The campaign contributed to a total payment value increase year on year of 27%.

Objective #2: Increase total Paypal transactions on mobile devices during Christmas. Measured by % increase year on year. Result #2: The campaign contributed to total mobile payment processing increase of 68% year on year.

Objective #3: Deliver a self-funding campaign. Measured by total transaction value/media spend. Result #3-The campaign returned $1.30 for every $1 spent making it completely self-funding.

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October - December 2014
Havas Media
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