published Friday, March 21st, 2014

E-Trade's talking baby goes bye-bye

This image provided by E-Trade shows part of a television ad scheduled to air during the 2010 Super Bowl. E-Trade began its "talking baby" campaign in 2008 during the Super Bowl, at a time when online investing was not as common.
This image provided by E-Trade shows part of a television ad scheduled to air during the 2010 Super Bowl. E-Trade began its "talking baby" campaign in 2008 during the Super Bowl, at a time when online investing was not as common.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NEW YORK — The E-Trade baby will finally stop talking.

In the investor site's new ad, the baby — who looks like a harmless, adorable tot but talks like a character out of "The Wolf of Wall Street" — is upstaged by a cat named Beanie that sings. The tot quits in disgust at the end of the ad.

"That's it, I'm done. I'm out of here. Amateurs," the baby says in the ad. E-Trade confirmed it is "retiring" the baby and will go in a different direction with its next ads.

E-Trade began its "talking baby" campaign in 2008 during the Super Bowl, at a time when online investing was not as common. Having a talking baby trade stocks was a way to show people that E-Trade's investing services were so simple even a baby could make money trading stock on the site.

"It served its purpose when it first launched, to make it seem like anyone could trade online," said branding expert Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of branding firm Landor Associates. "But now online trading is so common the baby has lost its mission."

E-Trade's management has also changed. The company named banking industry veteran Paul Idzik as CEO in January 2013, and he has signaled a need for a new direction in marketing, replacing the company's chief marketing officer last summer. The company also switched ad agencies from Grey to Ogilvy & Mather.

E-Trade had created new talking baby spots for each Super Bowl since 2008, but sat out the big game this year.

There's no word on what the New York company's next marketing campaign will be, but Landor's Adamson said the talking baby will be a tough act to follow.

"It's an advertising icon so it will be hard to follow that with something as memorable," he said.

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