Gearon Hoffman Reanimates Brown & Co.

Gearon Hoffman re-turns to animation in its latest television effort for discount brokerage Brown & Co.

George Brown, who in 1960 founded the Boston company and frequently appeared as a cartoon character in broadcast and print campaigns, retired from making ad appearances earlier this year [Adweek, Jan. 17].

The latest work from Gearon Hoffman, however, retains the familiar “Where your experience pays off” themeline, and features some of the same animation style the Boston shop has employed for Brown & Co. in its 15-year association with the client.

Brown & Co., a unit of Chase Manhattan, spends about $10 million annually on advertising.

A new 30-second spot called “Obstacle” focuses on an investor running a muddy, treacherous obstacle course. The protagonist, based on an illustration by cartoonist Ed Koren and animated by The Ink Tank in New York, climbs over walls and slogs through slime pits.

A voiceover asks: “Can you do what the Brown investor does? Can you lay it on the line? Manage your own account, out where only the strong survive? If you can, you could enjoy what we believe is the best deep discount package available.” At the close of the commercial, the hero receives a gold medal emblazoned with the client’s Web address and toll-free number.

The new work targets experienced investors who meet the firm’s stringent requirements for net worth and trading experience; most recent ads from the client have been aimed at the same audience.

Penned by Doug Goransson, who teamed with art director Dick Davis, the effort is breaking on CNBC and other national cable outlets.

The animated Brown last appeared in commercials in 1999. Agency president Bob Hoffman said the character had been retired. Ads from Gearon Hoffman for the client in January, the first major effort not to include Brown, featured humorous live-action scenarios. Frank Veronsky