Edgy Commercials by Gearon Hoffman Seek To Attract Investors With a High Net Worth
BOSTON–Unlike competitors such as Charles Schwab, which promotes its accessibility, discount brokerage Brown & Co. hopes to underscore its exclusivity in a series of television commercials and print ads that began breaking last week.
Created by Gearon Hoffman in Boston, which has handled the account for the past 15 years, the campaign introduces the tagline, “Where your experience pays off.”
A unit of Chase Manhattan Corp., Boston-based Brown plans to spend about $7 million on advertising this year, according to agency president Bob Hoffman.
The ads use humor to let prospective investors know that to take advantage of the company’s $5-per-trade pricing schedule and new online trading capabilities, they must have a net worth of at least $50,000, excluding their principal place of residence. Consumers must also be able to prove they have handled their own stock trades for the past five years.
In one 30-second TV spot, a corporate vice president bemoans the fact that he does not qualify to work with Brown. He rants: “I’m good looking. I play squash. My girlfriend models . . . Just because Brown & Co. won’t take me, does that make me upset?” After a brief pause, the executive stalks around his desk and shouts directly into the camera: “Hey! I asked you a question!”
“We’re trying to say [Brown] is for people who can handle their own investments,” Hoffman said. “There is no hand-holding, no research.”
The commercials broke nationally last week, mainly on financial programs on cable television stations.
Scott Lainer wrote the copy, John Francis directed the spots and creative director Jon Pietz handled art direction. The commercials are the first major work from Gearon Hoffman to be shepherded by Pietz, who took over the creative department earlier this year following the departure of creative chief Sharon Krinsky.
Print executions are scheduled to appear in various business-oriented newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Smart Money, among others.
The broadcast and print effort will run through June, with new ads slated to debut this summer.
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