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E*Trade posts $1.7bn Q4 loss; talks up turnaround plan

Struggling discount brokerage E*Trade has posted a fourth quarter net loss of $1.7 billion after it took a $2.28 billion pre-tax hit on the sale of its asset-based securities portfolio to hedge fund m...


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E-Trade bids for SuperBowl glory

In a desperate bid to restore its failing fortunes, online broker E*Trade has decided to splash out on two thirty-second advertisements to air during Super Bowl XLI, the coveted prime commercial spot on American TV.

E*Trade says it has augmented its 2008 marketing spend by 30% over 2007, as it looks to restore consumer faith in its brand, which has been badly dented by the subprime crisis.

The Superbowl ads alone will cost the broker at least $5 million, but will give it prime-time exposure to a nationwide audience of approximately 90 million viewers.

Sadly, E*Trade appears to be taking this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity a little too seriously. Apparently its campaign will seek to convey  E*Trade’s "overall customer experience" and highlight "how the company liberates self-directed investors by providing innovative and easy-to-use products, such as high-yield savings".

E*Trade should take a tip from FedEx, which in 2005 devised an ad which parodied the typical SuperBowl commercial. The ingredients include a celebrity, a cute kid, a dancing bear that talks, and the "optional" product message.

That dancing bear would be particularly poignant. 

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 01 February, 2008, 04:19Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes No doubt E*Trade has been slammed in recent months, but it's stock price has already rebounded 140% from its recent 52 week low.  The true extent of ETFC's subprime exposure is in all likelihood fully known at this point.  The obvious question now is whether the company can rehabilitate its brand, but an even greater question looms: will the company escape the legal scrutiny now beginning to rear itself as the subprime dust settles.  If the answer is yes, then this company is a bargain at this level, particularly for potential acquirers.  Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and the SWFs have stood patiently on the sidelines for several months.  This may change in coming weeks.
Paul Penrose

Paul Penrose

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Finextra

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