PayPal auctions ‘epic’ experiences for the holidays

If you’ve ever wanted to play mini-golf on ice with Olympic hockey player Hillary Knight — or go fishing with Shark Tank’s Daymond John or have your childhood photo transformed into a piece of art by street-artist Skyler Grey — you’re in luck. You can now bid for these among seven other experiences on eBay, as part of PayPal’s holiday gift guide this year. Bonus: It’s for a good cause.

PayPal is out to sell experiences for the holidays this year, rather than products because its agency Mistress found that that’s what matters to millennials. So it came up with 10 unique experiences with 10 influencers to auction off, the proceeds from the auction going to charities of the influencers’ choice.

“Millennials are all about streamlining their lives,” said Maude Standish, millennial trend forecaster and director of strategy at Mistress. “For example, they don’t want a million books; they want the experience of reading the book on their kindle. They don’t want to own records, they want to own the experience of listening to music.”

The e-commerce brand spread the word using its various social networks, including Vine, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest— again through the 10 influencers telling the community about the experiences. The response has been good. The bid for a personalized yoga session for you and your pet pooch is currently going for $1,225; the current top bid for fishing with Daymond John is at a whopping $3,400 currently.

PayPal also recruited in Vine artist Avery Monsen to create Vine trailers for each of the auction experiences last Thursday, further encouraging fans to bid for these experiences. Five fans also had their experiences custom-made into Vine videos by Monsen in real time after they were asked to describe their real or dream experiences online using the hashtag #EpicExperienceTime. The hashtag had 216 uses on Twitter, according to social analytics firm Topsy.

“We wanted it to be a healthy dose of the outlandish and the good that comes out of giving to charity,” said Maggie Cadigan, brand director at Mistress. “We’re very pleasantly surprised at the amount of money people are throwing at these experiences.”

Fans can bid on each experience for a few more days on this microsite, including a yoga session with their pets with yoga instructor Kathryn Budig and a hot air balloon ride with comedian and podcaster Kurt Braunohler.

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