GSD&M Broadens Schwab’s Identity

DALLAS GSD&M breaks a campaign Thursday for Charles Schwab that promotes the breadth of the company’s offerings, a departure from past TV efforts that focused primarily on the brokerage’s retail business.

Two ads in the campaign attempt to illustrate that Schwab, which began as a discount broker and still caters to the individual, also offers advanced solutions to others in the financial community, like sophisticated trading systems and business consulting for financial advisors. Although the two spots target portfolio managers, institutional investors and executives who oversee retirement plans, Schwab hopes the message will resonate with consumers, too.

At the end of each spot is onscreen copy with the new tagline, “Seeing the market from a different perspective—yours.” Spending is undisclosed, but the company said in a statement that the effort “marks the start of a plan to substantially increase Schwab’s advertising presence over 2003 levels.”

The San Francisco-based company has spent $70 million on media through October 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“We’ve been on that [repositioning] path for several years and we’re beyond being known as the discount broker,” said client senior vice president of brand development Peter DeLuca. “We wanted to make sure that this campaign sets the tone that we want to broaden our identity among everybody.”

DeLuca said it is important that consumers understand the company’s array of solutions. “As you start to reinforce you’re a broader financial service player, you help legitimize that you can give ideas to [smaller] investors,” he said.

In one 60-second spot, the Austin, Texas-based Omnicom Group shop uses dark hues and a fast-moving camera to glide through scenes that demonstrate Schwab’s services. After a voiceover presents a financial problem for which Schwab has developed a solution, onscreen copy reads, “This is where we come in” and then summarizes what is being said.

The spot begins with a group of people walking into a building as a voiceover says, “Buyers and sellers needed a more efficient way to come together. So we developed a faster, more efficient trading system, and today Schwab Capital Markets is the second-largest market maker of Nasdaq securities.”

The scene then smoothly transitions into a room where financial advisors are speaking to their clients. Voiceover: “Independent financial advisors needed more than just custody and trading to run their businesses. So we built Schwab Institutional, and today we serve more independent financial advisors than any other firm.”

In the final scene, a man is opening his mailbox as the narrator says, “Companies wanted to offer their employees more help with their 401k plans; Schwab Corporate Services found a way to make personalized advice available through every 401k plan we service. We look for ways to help the markets of investors every day.”

A 30-second spot features a woman talking rapidly about her company’s new 401k plan to a roomful of employees. Each worker raises his or her hand when she asks if anyone has questions. Voice copy promotes Schwab’s personalized advice and invites viewers to call Schwab “for help with your company’s retirement plan.”

The final 30-second spot targets consumers. The ad shows two people talking about the popularity of a coffee shop they are in as the man says he has just bought stock in the company. Voiceover: “This is where we come in. At Charles Schwab we understand popular companies don’t always make profitable investments. We’ll help you develop a disciplined investment strategy that goes beyond chasing hot stocks.”

The campaign, which also includes print, will run through February.