30+ years after pioneering the online brokerage category, E*TRADE was struggling to break from a third-place position in consideration and in financial jeaopardy.
Pinched between full-service advisory-based firms (targeting affluent investors) and emerging low-cost platforms, the brand set it sights on inspiring new-to-the-market to start trading with E*TRADE.
E*TRADE needed a big idea that toppled investment inertia, dramatically increased new accounts and reestablished the brand as a culturally aware challenger that had investors' backs.
While the financial category is surrounded with insincere messages of happiness and peace of mind, E*TRADE decided to acknowledge real-life financial frustrations head-on, and motivate consumers to turn their dissatisfaction into action.
"Don't Get Mad, Get E*TRADE" put their dissatisfaction with money front and center.
Messages like "first class is there to remind you you're not in first class" and "the harder you work, the better your boss vacations" accompanied by visceral images of "the good life" (part Great Gatsby, part Wolf of Wall Street) were designed to elicit a bit of anger and spur this investment-ready audience to take control of their financial future.
Launching during the first week of summer (traditionally a quiet time for the category) allowed us to shake up both prospective consumers and the financial category at large.
We launched the campaign across video, digital, and social channels, and used high impact units in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to shake up the very financial institutions we set out to disrupt thirty years ago.
Just 10 weeks after the campaign launched, E*TRADE was already seeing historic growth in new accounts.
Gross new accounts from July/August led to the highest growth rate since 2007.
August was E*TRADE's highest-grossing new account month on record--ever.
E*TRADE'S CEO even took notice, crediting us with having played a critical role in their newfound success:
…Following the launch of the campaign, we have experienced a pronounced boost in key metrics relative to advertising awareness among our target market, prospect website visits and, most importantly, new account growth…we are getting our swagger back.
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