E-Trade Group Inc. today will unveil an advertising campaign designed to position the company as the preferred brand in the young but fast-growing world of online financial services. The Palo Alto-based company declined to break out costs of the new campaign, but E-Trade Marketing Vice President Michael Sievert said the company's advertising and marketing budget for the current fiscal year will total $150 million.
E-Trade's past TV commercials, which ran mainly on financial news programs, promoted the use of the online trading category. New commercials, to run on such mainstream programs as "ER," "Ally McBeal" and "The X-Files," will pitch E-Trade to a broad range of consumers, most of whom have yet to move their personal finances online.
"Just a few months ago, this was an emerging category," Sievert said. "Now our advertising has to be less about selling the category than establishing our brand."
Marketing industry observers say E-Trade's advertising shift mirrors a trend throughout the world of online commerce.
"What's occurring over a very short period of time is that companies that were promoting a generic category are now moving to build and hone their brands," said Carol A. Scott, a UCLA marketing professor. "E-Trade wants to establish itself as the Amazon.com of the online trading business."