NEW YORK — Digital discount broker E*Trade Financial Corp on Thursday bid farewell to the precocious baby who starred in the television commercials advertising its trading platform for the last seven years.
Or rather it gave the baby with the baritone voice the chance to angrily announce that he has resigned. "I'm done. I'm out of here," he says the 30-second ad that debuted during the opening games of the NCAA March Madness tournament.
For the brokerage firm that is recovering from a near-fatal venture into mortgage lending and banking, the baby's retirement is no laughing matter.
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.
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.