Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is it time to ditch the E*Trade baby?


An article in last week’s Bloomberg Businessweek starts out by saying: “Quirky TV ads have made E*Trade Financial famous but have done little to help pitch its functional appeal to investors.” Hmm.

The article goes on to say that while the baby has increased brand recognition since he began airing in 2008, the 9.4% increase in E*Trade’s brokerage accounts since then pales in comparison to Charles Schwab’s 13.5% increase and TD Ameritrade’s 24% increase. In short, that while the company may boast some of the most popular ads on tv, it still can’t make a profit. Yikes!

E*Trade’s solution is to increase their overall advertising budget, and half the amount of spots it will run featuring the baby. (Steverman, 2011)

What do you think? Is this a smart approach? What would you do?

Steverman, B. (2011, February 16). E*Trade Looks To Outgrow That Talking Baby. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Targeting lovers, or maybe just wanna bes.


If you live in New York or Boston, your Super Bowl experience included a cleverly naughty little ad from Sealy’s. Instead of anatomy lessons, specifications or sheep, we got afterglow; and a suggestive tagline “Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it.” (Greenberg, 2011)

The company points out that in order to arrive at the strategy they skipped focus groups and went directly to consumers to find a way to connect with them on an emotional level. And while they didn’t say how many people were actually having sex, versus how many would like to, I’d say that they succeeded. At least for me. And since I am in the market for a new mattress at the moment I say good for them.

How about you? Would you rather think about making love or padding and coils?

Here’s a link to the commercial in case you missed it.

Greenberg, K. (2011, February 9) Sealy: A Good Mattress Is About More Than Z-z-z’s. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Too many car ads, not enough insights.


In the interest of full disclosure, let me start by saying that I am not a good target for car ads. I live in Manhattan, and haven’t owned a car since I was 19.

But, I can still recognize an effective ad when I see one.

While I watched the blur of car ads that dominated this year’s Super Bowl, I couldn’t help but think how Prius’s excellent product placements in Bones, which demonstrate many of its unusual safety and styling features as part of integrated storylines blew them all away. Is there any doubt that this is the future of television advertising?

Meanwhile though, we have the adorable mini-Darth Vader Passat spot. Using the Star Wars theme to connect with its audience, and the ever popular insight of a parent’s love for their child, it is the only car ad that I saw that I can even attribute to a specific advertiser.

You can check it out at:

Who knows, it may even sell a few cars.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is an online cooking class in your future?


ConAgra Foods and have partnered to launch “Cooking Connections,” a blogger-hosted virtual cooking school. For eight weeks, brands such as Tropicana and Clorox will connect with moms using live classes which will be cross-posted on Twitter and Facebook. (Lukovitz, 2011)

How interesting.

Back when I worked on food brands, I was a strong advocate of recipe advertising. My feeling was that people are always looking for cooking ideas, and if the recipe says to use Hunts Tomato Paste then people will.

Couple that with the fact that a recent BabyCenter survey showed that 81% of mothers use the internet to find new recipes and foods, and this idea seems like a winner to me. How about you?

Lukovitz, K. (2011, January 28) ConAgra Launches Online Cooking School. Retrieved February 3, 2011, from