E*Trade Replacing Talking Baby With Kevin Spacey

Actor Kevin Spacey
E*Trade Financial Corp., represented for the past six years by an arrogant talking baby, hired actor Kevin Spacey as a pitchman to appeal to investors who want help planning for retirement. Photographer: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

April 4 (Bloomberg) -- E*Trade Financial Corp., represented for the past six years by an arrogant talking baby, hired actor Kevin Spacey as a pitchman to appeal to investors who want help planning for retirement.

The Internet brokerage retired its infant mascot after replacing ad agency Grey with Ogilvy & Mather Inc. Spacey, who plays a conniving politician in the television series “House of Cards,” will portray a talent scout who spots “Type E” investors, Liza Landsman, chief marketing officer for the New York-based company, said in a phone interview.

“The baby was really reflective of the past,” Landsman said. “Consumers have recognized investing is complex and hard work.”

E*Trade posted more than $3 billion of losses related to bad mortgages following the collapse of the subprime market. Since Paul Idzik took over as chief executive officer last year, the stock has jumped 148 percent, beating TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. and Charles Schwab Corp.

Ads featuring the baby started airing in 2008 during the Super Bowl, Landsman said. In that commercial, the baby made a trade from its highchair, then threw up on itself.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zeke Faux in New York at zfaux@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at peichenbaum@bloomberg.net Steve Dickson