Thursday, October 23, 2008

Babies and Cavemen

I have chosen to analyze the commercial created by E*trade, a financial company that sells stock, funds, and helps with insurance. The newest of the E*trade commercials involves the webcam antics of the “E*trade baby”, which is able to talk, and make a video him using E*trade on a phone. Overall E*trade is just another financial group looking for business, but like all new banking and insurance agencies, people are looking for the best quality and trustworthy place that they can find to carry out the required service. Buying stocks or insurance can be a huge decision and people want it to be a smooth process, so the commercial uses a baby to portray the na├»ve and innocent adults. The idea of the whole ad campaign is to make people believe that working with a company like E*trade can be easy. The commercial becomes a success based on its use of an infant directly relating to the desire of people wanting an easily understandable financial agency to help them with their specific need.
The E*trade commercial shows the baby using his blackberry to access stocks and trades on his phone. The immediate impact of the ad is focused to appeal to business people with phones, constantly on the go, who need to stay on top of their finances. However, E*trade is not only for business people so the commercial does a good job of appealing to a target market, but not shutting out everyone else. In fact, the commercial does an impressive job of appealing to the other group on a deeper level. The actual images on screen include a baby on his business phone receiving e-mails, phone calls, and has a promo for a new E*trade Mobile Pro. While the aspect of humor is appealing to keep people watching, the use of the images on screen have a way of keeping people thinking about using E*trade rather than a quick laugh at its commercial. The distinct image of the child visually not only makes the commercial funny, but gives the idea of E*trade being so easy to use that the infant can do it. It is this part of the ad that works on more levels than just appealing to a business class. Almost all adults will be forced to deal with finances and many choose to buy stock. Financial investments like these can become stressful in an adults life and need to be handled properly and with as little trouble as possible. This image of the baby completing his stock trades on a phone gives a person peace of mind and a desire to use E*trade in order to make these life decisions easier. The value of new technology in media can constantly be a scare to the average person because one can find it difficult and overwhelming to use or even understand. E*trade took the liberty to show that any person (even a child) can use its services with ease. Similar marketing techniques are used in the Geico commercials that aim to show the ease of using their company through humor and their well-known slogan, “so easy, a caveman could do it.” Geico works on the same levels visually as E*trade which proves my point of the use of technology being scary to some people and a company’s goal is often to make people feel relaxed and safe when choosing a financial service company. Their idea of a cavemen living in the present gives a quick laugh, but still puts a trust in people that they think it would be easy to work with a company like Geico. E*trade and Geico both used ads effectively to show what unique program their company has to offer, but appeal to the people at the same time by giving them an idea that they can trust in their services. An important decision financially should be taken care of by people that care about their costumers, and E*trade makes sure that point gets across in their commercial even if people have to look past those adorable baby’s eyes to see it.

In the end, in order to have a successful advertisement, companies need to take to mind elements that both E*trade and Geico used. Technology is always going to change, and with adults being slower to adjust to the technology, companies need to make sure to get across the point that their services are not complex. Instead they need to stress that they are easy to use, and is in the consumer’s best interest to choose to work with their company. E*trade made people confident that technology is a friend and can be helpful. This idea must be used by all companies to make a successful ad. If a company wants to appeal to everyone, the best underlying statement may be as simple as even babies and cavemen use it.

Matt Prekop
TA: Kate Brandt

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