The CG-animated campaign breaks with earlier Ameritrade campaigns, which focused on funny office situations, like the case of Stuart, the grungy tech-guy who shows his boss how to trade online. "The previous stuff was all an evolution of a similar tone of voice," says Ogilvy ECD Joe Sciarrotta. "This is an all new tone of voice." Call it a "post-boom" tone. Sciarrotta positions the work somewhere between E*Trade's exuberance and the wizened feel of TD Waterhouse's recent ads featuring Law & Order's Steven Hill (a.k.a. DA Adam Schiff). "I think that fits the personality of Ameritrade," he says. "It has more of a balance between the two personalities. It has the ecstatic bull and the cautious bear."
Speaking of personality, this bull and bear have plenty. Voiced by comedian Chris Elliott and voiceover regular Mark Fenske, respectively, the characters were created by Aardman Animations, the U.K. studio behind the characters Wallace and Gromit and the feature Chicken Run. "We talked to a variety of places that do this kind of animation," Sciarrotta says. "Aardman really didn't have the CG experience that other places have, but they are so good at giving their characters a personality. That's why we chose them. Because they're so good at giving personality to creatures."