January 15, 2015

E-Trade Re-Trades

Back in April I wrote a piece entitled "Talking Babies And Babbling Baboons."

It was about E-Trade's announcement that they had hired a new CMO who was coming in to kill their talking baby and bring in her own agency to do a different, and presumably more successful, campaign.

While I had some reservations about`` the Talking Baby, at the time I wrote,
"...good advertising can't withstand the relentless onslaught of baboons in the marketing suite...
Marketing people just refuse to leave shit alone. Somewhere they got the idea that everything they see needs to be changed and everything they change is an improvement...
Whenever I read in the trades that a successful advertiser has hired a new CMO, I know a festival of laughter is on the way. They (the new CMOs) always say the same thing: 
"X Corp has been very successful. I am not here to change that. My focus is just on making sure that we ______."
Amazingly, making sure that they ________ always seems to require that they change everything.
Recently E-Trade got a new CMO, which, of course, meant a new agency which, of course, means a new campaign. And what an inexcusable piece of excrement it is.

Of course, this horrible, disgraceful, odious (am I making myself clear?) campaign is being justified with the usual steaming pile of hogwash about "consumers" and "research" and "control" and "spaces."

Just reading this crap is so depressing. It has to make anyone with a sense of what advertising should and could be disgusted that advertising decisions are in the hands of such philistines.

When are these people going to learn that a distinctive campaign idea is worth ten-thousand of their vacuous strategy documents and hinky research reports?

The new CMO, in the time-honored tradition of insolent duplicity, gives the old campaign the obligatory counterfeit high praise while sticking an ice pick in the heart of something good in support of something unspeakably horrible.

I hate to do this to you on a Monday morning, but take a look at this monstrosity and try not to lose your breakfast.

They followed this disaster with further awfulness involving poor Kevin Spacey.

Well, guess what? After just 9 months the brilliant new CMO and her agency are out on their asses, as is their "improved" campaign for E-Trade.

CMO's -- particularly newly arriving ones -- have a terrible compulsion to screw up good things they didn't create. They just can't help themselves.

A good ad campaign is a very rare thing these days. Glib CMOs, on the other hand, can be acquired in bulk at any marketing conference or social media "summit".

Any company that trades a good ad campaign for a jargon-spewing CMO deserves what it gets.


Kurt Jetta said...

New CMO's messing everything up? Check. You always know there's a new marketer every time the packaging changes. That's the easiest thing for them to start getting their mitts on.

Lousy new E-Trade commercial? Check. I am horrified (for them) that I don't recall any of them, and I'm a customer and I always used to see the "Talking Baby."

Stick with the Talking Baby? DENIED! The creative was beginning to feel too much like a bad movie sequel, like Hangover IX or something. Additional creative in that area would have been just as wasteful as the crap you posted.

Cecil B. DeMille said...

Spoken like a CMO. Check.

There was a lot of equity in the baby. If it needed to be refreshed, it could have been. Replacing it with drivel was not the answer, and a lot of people, myself included, miss the kid. Because it was a good idea. Now we have something with no idea. Improvement?

Kurt Jetta said...

Best option was have been to bank the money they wasted on advertising and taken the time to get it right. Maybe Talking Baby could have been refreshed, but it's doubtful, unless they had a new service offering to talk about.

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