E*Trade Launches Mobile Extension of Talking Baby Avatars

Mobile Commerce Daily
Dan Butcher
July 21, 2010

E*Trade Financial Corp. is bringing its talking baby avatars to the mobile channel with the BabyMail viral marketing campaign.

The company partnered with Mogreet and Oddcast to power BabyMail, which allows users to create their own animated talking baby messages to share with friends and family. It has been viewed more than 1 million times since its February launch.

"E*Trade's integrated marketing campaign is aimed at boosting the core retail brokerage franchise, driving new customers to E*Trade and strengthening customer and investor confidence during times of economic uncertainty," said Lea Stendahl, vice president of marketing at E*Trade, New York.

"E*Trade has historically been at the forefront of technology, not only in the products and services we provide, but also in our marketing and advertising efforts," she said. "We want to extend that to E*Trade BabyMail".

"We want to continue to keep BabyMail relevant and have the widget available whether someone is at their desktop, laptop or on the go, as it is clear to us that our integrated marketing program has brought meaningful ROI to our brand and our business."

Mogreet's MMS mobile marketing and messaging platform enables the delivery of video, picture and text messages to more than 4,100 unique handset models across virtually every major mobile carrier in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.

Oddcast provides proprietary video, photo, 3D, voice and avatar platforms, enabling brands to amplify customer engagement throughout the social net.

Mobile BabyMail

To create a BabyMail, consumers choose a baby photo from an E*Trade menu or upload their own baby photo, personalize what the baby says and then send the talking baby or publish it to social networks.

With Oddcast's and Mogreet's joint platform, consumers can now send these same personalized creations to virtually any mobile device, creating a new channel for consumers to enjoy these pop icons.

BabyMail is helping E*Trade gain broad exposure to consumers.

"Although BabyMail has mass-appeal, E*Trade's target market is self-directed inclined investors looking to take control of their finances," Ms. Stendahl said.

"BabyMail is helping E*Trade gain broad exposure and connect us with our audience in a creative, effective and memorable way," she said.

The partnership powering the campaign combines Oddcast's use of personalized talking avatars with Mogreet's MMS marketing and messaging platform, to give brands and advertisers such as E*Trade the ability to extend their online viral marketing programs to the mobile channel.

With the combined capabilities of Oddcast and Mogreet, brands and advertisers will be able to use the same viral, branded media they use in their online campaigns, and distribute them to nearly any mobile phone in North America.

The technology enables real-time personalization and mobile delivery, enabling consumers to send unique and personal video messages to phones.

Ms. Stendahl said that by the nature of the application, interest in BabyMail has spread virally. Approximately 70 percent of BabyMail traffic is driven this way.

"We expect new and repeat users to find the MMS addition as one of the share features available and that the MMS service will follow the same viral awareness that we have seen with the widget itself," Ms. Stendahl said.

All brands want to create marketing campaigns that reach the target demographic and spread virally.

"The strength of this partnership is that it extends the highly viral and ingenious Babymail campaign to consumers everywhere by virtue of enabling Babymails to be received on nearly any mobile in the U.S. and Canada," said James Citron, cofounder/CEO of Mogreet, Los Angeles.

"If you want to create a personalized Babymail message, you can send it nearly any mobile phone in the country, enabling the recipient to view the personalized message immediately on their mobile device," he said.

"Since we're always on the go, this extends the E*Trade brand and this viral hit to the 270 mobile consumers in the U.S."

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