BOSTON-Its status as the former agency of record for the E*Trade online brokerage, combined with the desire of some officials at Fidelity Investments for fresh ideas, helped Gotham win advertising chores for Fidelity’s retail brokerage business.
“We’re now looking to get revenge against E*Trade and what better way to do it than with a preeminent name like Fidelity,” said Stone Roberts, chairman of Gotham. The New York shop lost E*Trade in March to
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, following a review.
“They have extensive experience” in the category, said Stephen Cone, president of customer marketing and development at Boston-based Fidelity.
Other contenders for Fidelity were Grey Advertising, New York, Martin/
Williams, Minneapolis, and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, which, like Gotham, is owned by the Interpublic Group. Billings weren’t disclosed, but sources pegged initial spending at $50-60 million.
Cone said Gotham will support “online as well as the total brokerage business. We’re always upgrading our online capability.” At present, there is “very low awareness” of Fidelity’s online brokerage service, which Gotham will address.
Referred to as “Livewire” in pitch materials, Gotham’s assignment will consist mainly of promoting the client’s online brokerage services, which may be significantly revamped in coming months, sources said.
Fidelity is somewhat behind the curve in the fast-growing “day trader” market, which is dominated by online brokerage players. At the
outset, Fidelity officials wanted a separate agency on the retail part of the business, sources said.
Fidelity spent more than $80 million on ads last year, mainly through lead agency Hill, Holliday. That shop will continue to focus on the client’s mutual fund, retirement and corporate advertising efforts.
“We had so much going on with Hill, Holliday already” it made sense to look at an outside shop,” Cone said. “This new assignment does not effect what we’re currently doing for them,” a Hill, Holliday representative said. Cone added that promotions for the company’s Web site, now handled by Hill, Holliday, would shift to Gotham.
Gotham’s initial effort will appear in the third or fourth quarter and be “integrated” to some extent with Hill, Holliday’s corporate efforts, Cone said. That shop has created commercials for the client featuring financial guru Peter Lynch and comedians Don Rickles and Lily Tomlin. It has not been decided if Lynch or other celebrities will be used in Gotham’s ads or if the revamped online offering will be called Livewire, Cone said.
About one-quarter of all retail stock trades are made online, and Fidelity wants to better compete in that marketplace. The domestic online trading market rose to 7.5 million total accounts in 1998, compared with 4.1 million in 1997, according to Gomez Advisors in Concord, Mass.
Schwab.com is the market leader, with roughly a 29 percent share; Fidelity ranks fifth, with just 9.4 percent. Waterhouse Securities, E*Trade and Datek rank second through fourth. -with Justin Dini
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