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E*TRADE Financial

Strategy

When the bubble and its RIM happy day traders went “pop,” E*TRADE, who collected millions of users and massive name recognition on the Web, needed to change the perception that people had of them from a stock-swapping God to an all-encompassing financial adult.

Tactics

E*TRADE advertised in the Super Bowl with its infamous chimp for the third straight year in 2002. Not only did the ad hope to be a star of the game as it had been in years past, it was also going to introduce the world to E*TRADE’s new name and brand. The first-half of the project involved RLM using the E*TRADE Chimp as a device to build hype and anticipation for the upcoming Super Bowl ads.

RLM took the E*TRADE chimp on a “photo celebration tour” of New York, where he was photographed at several New York City landmarks (E*TRADE Center, Nobu Restaurant, the Bull on Broadway, Central Park, etc). RLM then sent the photos to the media to create pre-Super Bowl buzz and to tease reporters with the news that E*TRADE would be making a big announcement on the day of the Super Bowl.

After the official game day announcement was made, RLM planned a “Meet the new E*TRADE Financial” event at New York’s E*TRADE Center, where CEO Christos Cotsakos spoke about the new E*TRADE Financial. RLM’s aggressive media pitching took place in January to national and New York business, consumer and trade media regarding a major E*TRADE announcement and the opportunity to speak with E*TRADE’s CEO Cotsakos.

Results

Since RLM could not reveal the purpose of the event, other than say that there would be a big announcement, the firm still managed to generate huge buzz by strategically securing placements mentioning the event in The New York Times, CNBC, Chicago Sun Times and The Wall Street Journal to get the rumor mill going.

As a result, RLM got more than 50 reporters to attend the New York event. RLM persuaded a third of those reporters to write a story about E*TRADE Financial and also organized interviews for Cotsakos. Photos and articles ran in top-tier newspapers and trade publications such as AdWeek, American Banker, Associated Press, Barron’s, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Radio, BrandWeek, CBS Marketwatch, Chicago Sun Times, CNBC, CNN, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune Small Business, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Reuters, San Francisco Chronicle, Tokyo TV, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Washington Times.