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Super Bowl Ad's E-Trade Baby Goes Social

Forbes
Oliver Chiang
February 5, 2010

Because arguably the only things more viral than cute keyboard-playing cats are cute wise-cracking babies, the famous E-Trade Baby from the Super Bowl ads is now an app.

Called "BabyMail," the app can send via e-mail customizable video messages delivered by one of the E-Trade babies, or you can share your video through Facebook, Twitter or your blog. The results can range from adorable to plain disturbing (certain words are banned, obviously). The app is also a sign of the times: it's not enough to have a funny, talked-about Super Bowl ad. Marketers are increasingly looking for ways to connect with consumers through social media.

BabyMail is a way to extend E-Trade's brand, said chief marketing officer Nick Utton, and "another way to engage our audience." The app was produced by Oddcast, a New York-based marketing agency that focuses on social media technology.

A light, frothy ad and social media campaign could be just the thing to help take E-Trade's recent financial woes off investors' minds. The company, which was hit especially hard during the credit crisis and recession of the past year, last month reported a narrower fourth quarter loss of $67.1 million or 4 cents per share.

While some might see BabyMail as just another marketing gimmick, others are having a field day with it, apparently.

"One sender said he conducted all his business via BabyMail for an entire day," says Pam Erickson, an E-Trade corporate communication executive. "Must have made for quite the change of pace."

Here's a look at a couple of the E-Trade Super Bowl ads of the past:

E-Trade ad 2008

E-Trade ad 2009

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