Gotham, Goodby Face Off for E*Trade

‘Superior Work’ Will Decide Who Gets $100 Mil. Business, Says Client
SAN FRANCISCO–Online brokerage E*Trade has asked Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to “present ideas” on its estimated $100 million advertising 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., headquarters and is “exploring its creative options” beyond Gotham’s “Someday we’ll all invest this way” campaign.
“With the results we’ve delivered for E*Trade, I’d be shocked [if they were talking to other agencies],” said Gotham’s chairman, Stone Roberts.
While acknowledging that Gotham’s work had 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 to take a crack at the business,” he said.
Gramaglia said he and vice president of marketing Mike Siebert have been approached by a number of agencies, including Deutsch, but the contest is now between Goodby and Gotham.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about ideas,” he said. “If [Goodby] has superior work, they’ll have the business.”
E*Trade has seen an explosion in online competition from the likes of Charles Schwab & Co., DLJ Direct and Ameritrade, and wants to move its advertising from a “category sell to a brand-of-choice” message, Gramaglia said.
Goodby executives here declined 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 advertising through October 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting. The company said last fall it would pursue a $150 million marketing push including TV, print, radio and Web efforts [Adweek, Sept. 14]. Western Media currently handles broadcast media buying duties. –with Justin Dini