E*Trade Sets Kevin Spacey As New Poster Boy
E*Trade Financial (NASDAQ: ETFC) has replaced Grey Advertising baby ads with Kevin Spacey to appeal to the “mature” investor.
On Thursday, March 20, E*Trade announced in a 30-second ad that debuted in the opening games of NCAA March Madness tournament that the iconic baby from the commercials had resigned.
E*Trade CEO Paul Idzik commented that the company needed a new, more scientific approach to marketing last year. Idzik wanted to see the brand's marketing move in a new direction. The CEO fired fired Nick Utton, and replaced Grey Advertising with Oglivy & Mather.
On March 21, New Chief Marketing Officer Liza Landsman told Reuters that, “The baby was a wonderful iconic expression of what we were but we want something that better reflects our present and where we are going.”
With the structure of the new marketing “Type-E” campaign taking shape, E*Trade hired actor Kevin Spacey from the television series House of Cards. Landsman commented that Spacey will depict a talent scout who spots Type-E investors. The Chief Marketing Officer describes Type-E investors as “self-directed, independent, maybe a little irreverent, confident investor.”
The online trading company hopes that the new marketing strategy will appeal to mature investors who want help planning for retirement.
In an exclusive interview with Benzinga, marketing guru “Charlie Curve” Wollborg commented on the extreme marketing revolution saying, “it is surprising that they [E*Trade] would take such a drastic change.” Wollborg, who didn't particularly enjoy the previous baby campaign, remarked that “you can't ignore Kevin Spacy. He can act, he has charisma and you can't take your eyes off him when he's on screen.”
Despite an admiration for the actor, Wollborg questioned if the actor's previous “bad guy” roles will impact the commercials. Wollborg asked, “Do you want advice from a baby or a criminal?”
Wollborg emphasized that E*Trade is familiar with taking risks in advertising. More importantly, though, “E*Trade understands the end game.”
Shares of E*Trade are up more that 145 percent since Paul Idzik took over as CEO last year, beating TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab. E*Trade has traded as low as $20.21 on Friday, down almost 9.7 percent. Shares are currently trading at $20.30.
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