Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Enough of the Etrade baby ads

Etrade has apparently survived its fiasco of combining brokerage with mortgage banking. While revenues are flat on TTM basis, the latest quarter actually suggests some modest growth. For the moment at least, the charges from mortgage banking and investments in CMO's seem to be behind them. So what's with continuing with the cute smart baby ads.

This ad campaign is nearing two years old, older than the baby. They are clever, even sometimes funny. They were a pleasant diversion and placekeeper for the brand while repairs were being made. The question now is not whether the ads attract attention or are popular, the question is with whom are they attractive? With serious traders and investors???

Unfortunately they increasingly remind me of WAMU's stupid banker ad campaign that ran until the firm collapsed. Talk about stupid bankers. They were so out of touch that being funny was more important to them than running a sound company.

If only for the employees and shareholders of Etrade, some ads with even a touch of gravitas might seem wise. For each new ad that continues the baby series, I suggest that Etrade create another ad track that features adults talking about investing. It could certainly have a hook that's entertaining, but this baby stuff is getting old, and does not differentiate from the beleagured Etrade of just a year ago to the possibly reviving firm of today.


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