Launches New Ad Campaign Aimed at Wary Investors

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In an effort to reach out to investors spooked by Wall Street’s recent rash of scandals, E-Trade Financial has doubled its 2004 marketing budget and is launching a humorous new advertising campaign.

It is the first work for the broker from Omnicom Group ad agency Martin/Williams, Minneapolis.

“We’re trying to say we’re a confident and mature financial services company,” said Pamela Kramer, E-Trade’s chief marketing officer.

$90 million
The company plans to spend more than $90 million dollars to market its services this year, an increase of $40 million to $50 million over last, she said.

The company will sponsor the NCAA basketball tournament broadcasts and may also increase its national media schedule, said Ms. Kramer.

After lavish ad spending during the years of the Internet boom, E-Trade scaled back its media schedule, focusing more on financial news channels, to target active traders more narrowly.

The increased spending is both a reflection of the market’s rebound and the changes in E-Trade’s business, Ms. Kramer said. The company had begun expanding into banking and services beyond brokerage even before the bear market began in 2000, to diversify against the downturn in trading.

Broker agency reviews
Brokers have been stirring back to life in the last year. In the last month alone, mutual fund powerhouse Fidelity Investments and broker Edward Jones & Co. have completed agency reviews; broker A.G. Edwards broke its first national campaign from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis; and investment manager Evergreen Investments broke a new effort from Interpublic's Mullen, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Brokers face a skeptical public. The American investor has been severely hurt by the economy and a broad base of consumers feel betrayed by the recent mutual fund and brokerage scandals, said Alan Siegel, chairman-CEO of branding agency Siegel & Gale, New York. “It’s a challenging task to position a company” in this environment, he said.

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