E*Trade Debuts New Campaign, Tagline

Online brokerage and financial services company E*Trade Monday announced a new advertising campaign and a new tagline aimed at promoting the company as a full-featured financial service destination, not just an online brokerage.

Spokespeople at E*Trade say the new tagline, “E*Trade. It’s Your Money,” and its associated print, television and outdoor campaign will continue the wry, offbeat tone established in previous campaigns, also designed by its San Francisco-based agency of record Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Spots will also build on aspects of the E*Trade brand previously set forth. The company said 1996’s “Some day we’ll all invest this way,” educated consumers about self-directed brokerage accounts, and 1999’s “It’s time for E*Trade,” built brand awareness.

“E*Trade is extending its value proposition to consumers beyond just that of online investing,” said E*Trade Group chief sales and marketing officer Michael Sievert.

“The launch of today’s campaign reinforces that E*Trade is striving to put power and choice back into the hands of individuals by giving them the tools they need to succeed and enabling the individual investor to realize their financial potential.”

Elements of the campaign will begin appearing in all major domestic markets Monday.

Television spots, titled “New CEO” and “Allergy,” will run during NFL programming on CBS, and MLB and NFL programming on Fox Television. In addition, ads will air on CNBC and Bloomberg.

National newspaper ads break Thursday, and will also appear in the November issues of top-tier financial and business publications. Billboards will also feature the new tagline in select markets.

Spokespeople from E*Trade declined to comment on how much the company spent on the new ads, or whether the shift in emphasis away from investment products was in response to recent regulatory scrutiny of its marketing procedures.

For reasons largely undisclosed, the regulatory arm of the National Association of Securities Dealers some months ago began requiring E*Trade to get NASD regulators’ approval on new ads ten days in advance to their scheduled release dates. That agreement expired in mid-September.

The NASD action also was likely influenced by several ongoing legal disputes with clients of its online brokerage services, who allege that the company’s ads inflate customers’ expectations for investment returns.

E*Trade is not the only brokerage under scrutiny. Last year, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt publicly criticized several online brokers’ ads for potentially appearing to promise riches. Competing online broker Ameritrade pulled an ad to which Levitt made specific reference.

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