E*Trade Courts Goodby

Online brokerage E*Trade has asked Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to “present ideas” on its estimated $100 million account.
Gotham, New York, currently handles creative duties and print media buying for E*Trade. However, sources said the client wants an agency closer to its Palo Alto, Calif., base, and is “exploring its creative options” beyond Gotham’s “Someday we’ll all invest this way” ads.
“With the results we’ve delivered, I’d be shocked [if they were talking to other agencies],” said Gotham chairman Stone Roberts.
While acknowledging Gotham’s work has generated “great results,” Jerry Gramaglia, E*Trade’s senior vice president of marketing, sales and communications, confirmed the Goodby talks. “With the market moving so quickly and so competitive, we wanted a fresh pair of eyes,” he said.
Gramaglia said he and vice president of marketing Mike Siebert were approached by a number of agencies, including Deutsch, but that the contest was between Goodby and Gotham.
“It’s all about ideas. If [Goodby] has superior work, they’ll have the business.”
E*Trade has seen an explosion in competition from the likes of Charles Schwab & Co., DLJ Direct and Ameritrade, and wants its advertising to move from a “category sell to a brand-of-choice” message, Gramaglia said.
Goodby executives here declined to comment.
Gotham has handled E*Trade since early 1997, when the client abruptly yanked its business from J. Walter Thompson in San Francisco after only two months.
E*Trade spent $30 million on ads through October 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting. –with Justin Dini