It might be time to say “bye-bye, baby.” E-Trade, the company whose TV commercials feature talking, stock-trading babies, has had seven different chief executives in the last six years (including interims). There is speculation about whether the most recent changing of the guard, along with a new marketing strategy, will mean an end to the “talking babies” campaign. When E-Trade’s first talking baby commercial debuted in 2008, the commercials were well received, but in the 2013 Super Bowl spot they seemed to have lost some of their mojo. Is this like what happened to the Cosby Show after Rudy Huxtable grew up? Does the efficacy of cuteness only last until toddlerhood?
In this case, the possible retirement of the talking babies could have less to do with how cute they are and more to do with a change in brand image. According to Advertising Age, E-Trade plans to shift its advertising focus away from the mass market and more toward investors, and that could mean cultivating a more conservative image. It’s not certain yet whether we’ll be saying goodbye to the babies, and it’s never fun to say goodbye to well-liked characters, but these babies will have plenty of time to reinvent themselves and maybe even land a new gig before grade school, especially if they’ve invested their earnings wisely.