An Animated Brown

Gearon Breaks TV Effort for Investment Firm
BOSTON–Straight-shooting brokerage chieftain George Brown appears as a black-and-white animated character in a half-dozen spots for Brown & Co., a discount investment firm in Boston.
The ads mark the broadest use of the cartoon character to date, said Bob Hoffman, president of Gearon Hoffman in Boston, which has handled the account for more than 15 years. “People seem to love the little guy,” he said.
One spot, dubbed “Head Examined,” shows Brown’s brain being examined by an X-ray machine. “Why do I treat customers so well? I don’t know, maybe I need my head examined,” he says.
In “Next,” Brown holds auditions for potential clients. Underscoring the firm’s commitment to work only with experienced traders, Brown dismisses one would-be investor and derides a competitor, saying, “Sorry, try Schwab.”
The ads carry the existing tagline, “Where your experience pays off,” and emphasize the firm’s low commission rate. The 30-second spots, which broke a few weeks ago, will run through year’s end on CNBC, CNN and MSNBC.
A print component is running in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and elsewhere.
Because of the recent boom in discount brokerages, Brown & Co. has increased its annual ad spending to $10 million, Hoffman said. Gearon Hoffman handles media placement and creative development.
Bob Hoffman and Jon Pietz served as creative directors. Richard Menard, Scott Burns and Lisa Linnemann Courtney handled art direction. Ken Gleason, Mark Hohenschau and Beth Dooley wrote the copy.