April 6, 2009

Investing: Should I “talk to Chuck” or just go with the kid?

The E*Trade Baby

The E*Trade Baby

During the month of March, most of America’s sports-minded souls have found themselves “on the road to The Final Four.” I heard that CBS-TV broadcast 96 hours of college basketball action in one weekend alone.

And, if you’re part of an NCAA office pool, you’ve probably spent a lot of those 96 hours glued to your TV. That’s because gambling helps the sports world go ‘round.Which brings me to the ubiquitous E*TRADE TV spots starring the wisecracking “trading baby.” Love him or hate him, you can’t go a TV sports half-hour without seeing this computer-enhanced, smart-mouthed toddler. Are you like me? Do you wait for a new E*TRADE spot to debut so you can see what nutty high jinks the kid is up to next?

Catch some baby outtakes at etrade.com/baby.

But the whole thing leaves me wondering, how many consumers know who the baby is but not the brand he’s pushing? So the big question is, do the continuing adventures of this kid really move the sales needle for E*TRADE? Does this sort of approach engender trust in a financial services company? Or are the E*TRADE folks simply the biggest gamblers of all?

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