E-Trade's 'Talking Baby' Returns for Super Bowl

E-Trade’s “Talking Baby” is back. The well-spoken banking rugrat will be featured in a new 30-second ad airing during Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1.

The character first made his debut during Super Bowl XLII and generated “widespread attention,” per E-Trade. The company didn’t reveal details about the new ad, but E-Trade CMO Nick Utton said it plays on consumer sentiment regarding the current economy.

“Let’s be realistic, the market is in the worst state right now. Customer sentiment went to an all-time low in September. And more than ever [they’re] looking for a solution,” said Utton. “We’re being very cautious of the tonality of the message, and we want to be front and center with consumers,” he added, referring to E-Trade’s target audience, which is self-directed investors with $50,000-500,000 in investable assets.

Last year’s Super Bowl ad opened with the baby discussing how he may be too young to invest in markets, but how easy E-Trade made it for him. He clicks a button on his keyboard and reveals that he just bought stock. The baby says, “You just saw me buy stock. No big deal. If I can do it, you can do it,” and spits up milk. The voiceover concludes, “It’s so easy, there are a thousand new accounts a day.”

In addition to the new TV ad, the “Talking Baby” will have a major online presence this year, including on major social networks: YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. For example, a dedicated E-Trade page has been set up on YouTube.com, which houses a “Director’s Cut” video showing outtakes from the new campaign. A fan page for the baby has been created on Facebook, and the baby has launched a Twitter account. “Our view is that viral is viral. We feel that consumers of different age groups and [financial] backgrounds have migrated online,” Utton said.

E-Trade’s return marks its third consecutive year of Super Bowl ads. The financial firm had previously advertised during the big game from 2000 to 2002, before taking a break and returning again in 2007. E-Trade spent $189 million on U.S. measured media in 2007, and $213 million through November 2008, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Figures do not include online expenditures.

The “Talking Baby” campaign, created by E-Trade’s lead agency, Grey New York, will be further executed throughout the year on TV, in print and online, the company said. Additionally, the outtakes video will run in 1,200 National CineMedia affiliate theaters, including AMC, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment Group, starting today for the next two weeks. Utton said of the effort: “Hopefully we’ll get people talking before the Super Bowl.”