Or rather it gave the baby with the baritone voice the chance to
angrily announce that he has resigned.
In a 30-second ad that debuted during the opening games of the NCAA
March Madness tournament, a singing cat named Beanie interrupts the
baby's announcement that he is funding his retirement account
Told that the cat, who bursts into song with nonsensical lyrics
about bundling and options and ETFs, is his new sidekick, the baby
smashes his cellphone and barks: "I'm done. I'm out of here."
For the brokerage firm that is recovering from a near-fatal venture
into mortgage lending and banking, the baby's retirement is no
Chief Executive Officer Paul Idzik said soon after his arrival in
January 2013 that E*Trade was taking the wrong approach to marketing
and should be more scientific in measuring how its messages resonate
with clients. He fired marketing head Nick Utton, along with many
other top executives. Last summer, he replaced Grey Advertising,
which created the baby ads, with Oglivy & Mather.
"The baby was a wonderful iconic expression of what we were," new
chief marketing officer Liza Landsman told Reuters. "But we want
something that better reflects our present and where we are going."
She wouldn't be specific about the new marketing campaign that will
be launched in the next few weeks, but said it will be delivered
mostly through online channels such as Yahoo Finance, search engines
such as Google and Bing and social networks such as Facebook rather
than on television.
[to top of second column]
An increasing number of E*Trade clients of all ages and wealth
levels are using digital means to research investment ideas,
communicate with each other and trade. Digital reflects the client
experience and is "becoming the brand, to a certain extent,"
E*Trade President Navtej Nandra, who like Landsman was hired last
May, told Reuters that about 10 percent of the company's trades are
now executed through mobile and tablet devices, just behind the 12
percent of trades that rival TD Ameritrade Holdings recently said
were sent through smartphones and other mobile devices.
Nandra described the firm as a "digital hybrid" that works across
many platforms, including those that rely on customer service
representatives and live advisers for clients who want the "human
touch." E*Trade is no longer trying to be all things to all people,
he said, but it is also going well beyond its old image as a firm
whose major appeal is discounted stock trading commissions.
Landsman promised that the new campaign will be as iconic and
"witty" as the baby-centric ads. She also said that the firm's
advertising budget is "up a little" from last year.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)
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