E*Trade Taking 'Baby' Steps During NFL Playoffs, Super Bowl XLIV

January 15, 2010: Online financial firm E*Trade said it would use the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl XLIV to jump start its 2010 marketing efforts. One campaign continues the talking baby theme that E*Trade has been using for the past two years with three new ads; a second campaign will help launch a "Product/Laptop" solution series that will run concurrently with the Talking Baby effort.

Marketing and media spend was not disclosed. Lead agency is Grey, New York.

For those who track such things, E*Trade said the spots will star a new baby, not due to contractual problems but because "the reality is that babies do grow up and therefore advertisers run out of footage, opening the door for a fresh personality,"  Nicholas Utton, CMO for E*Trade Financial, said in a statement. New footage of the original baby could not be shot simply because the he got too old for the spots.

Two 30-second Talking Baby commercials will break Jan. 16, one on Fox during the NFC divisional playoff game between the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints and a second on CBS during the AFC divisional playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts. They also will run on Jan. 17 on Fox during the NCF divisional playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings and then during the ACF divisional playoff game between the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers.

The spots will then go into regular rotation, including the NFL two division championship games on Jan. 24 and the Pro Bowl on Jan. 31.

A third 30-second Talking Baby spot will debut Feb. 7 on CBS during Super Bowl XLIV. E*Trade said that the full series of five new Talking Baby spots would be a "central component of a multi-faceted marketing communications program that will span traditional and social media throughout 2010."

In addition, E*Trade said the first of several ads in its animated “Product/Laptop” solution series campaign would debut Jan. 16 on Fox during the NFC divisional playoff game.

According to Utton, the combined campaigns are designed to appeal to a widespread audience while targeting new business growth for the core retail franchise.

Support for the two campaigns includes Facebook, where E*Trade said it has more than 18,000 fans of the E*Trade brand and more than 12,000 Fans of the E*Trade Talking Baby; Twitter, which has more than 3,000 Talking Baby followers; and YouTube, where E*Trade claims more than 19 million total views of the Talking Baby’s work and more than 10,000 subscribers.

E*Trade is not a stranger to the Super Bowl, having sponsored three successive half time shows during Super Bowls XXXV, XXVI and XXXVII.

In "Lottery,"  the baby is in a convenience store where he introduces an adult, Frank, and his "big retirement plan." As Frank scratches off a lottery ticket, the baby says to him, "How long have we known each other? Go to E*Trade. They have killer tools that will help you nail a retirement plan that is (in a singing voice) Fierce!!" Frank exclaims, "Two golden crowns!!"  and continues scratching his lottery ticket in search of a third golden crown winning combination. The baby replies, "You realize the odds of winning are the same as being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear in the same day." The man then yells out a disgusted, "Frank!" as he pounds the table. "Oh, you didn't win?" the baby asks sarcastically. "I want to show you something - it's my shocked face." The baby then puts on a mock shocked expression and cries out, "Ooohh-ahhh."

In "Barbershop," the lead baby and three friends form a barbershop quartet. "Now that we've dumped our big expensive brokers, we have more time to pursue our passion," says the lead baby. They then break into four-part harmony, singing, "Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye big expensive broker."

“The overall campaign strikes the right balance — it’s entertaining and memorable, and communicates a strong, relevant message to investors,” said Utton. “Customer research has confirmed that the underlying premise of the E*Trade value proposition is valid. Individual investors have a better option for investing with E*Trade.”

As for the former baby star of the ads? "This was a great gig but it's time for me to hang up the old diaper, time for me to move on," he tweeted at the E*Trade Twitter site. "I'm getting old and old people follow the sunset. Plus I just took up windsurfing."


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