By now, you've probably seen the E*Trade
The first ad promoted E*Trade's discount brokerage business, with the gabby baby spitting up milk after completing a stock transaction with a single click. The second ad promoted E*Trade's high-yielding banking products, with the baby renting a clown only to realize that he "really underestimated the creepiness" of the hire.
The ads remained a hit long after Eli hit Plaxico for the winning score. On E*Trade's YouTube channel -- yes, E*Trade has a YouTube channel -- the two ads have combined for more than a million views since Super Bowl Sunday.
The ads may be the best investment E*Trade has ever made. Think about it: E*Trade was up against the ropes late last year. Retail brokerage customers were initially defecting after the company began selling loan-related assets at fire-sale prices.
The migration finally settled down toward the end of 2007, but E*Trade needed a knockout blow. It had to convince mainstream customers that the company was both here to stay and a viable alternative for brokerage and banking needs.
Mission accomplished. Even if you hate the ads, or feel that the talking-baby motif has been overdone in the past, E*Trade is being talked about -- with no one wondering whether it's on the brink of going under or angling for a suitor.
E*Trade is cool again, and its timing couldn't be better. Rivals TD AMERITRADE
The company seems to see it that way, too. Ten insiders snapped up a total of $2 million shares after last month's reassuring quarterly report.
So rock on, E*Trade Baby. Even if you don't get a television series like Berkshire Hathaway
Chimps pitching brokerages? Talk about underestimating the creepiness factor.