Ameritrade Is Bullish on New Campaign

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Online discount brokerage Ameritrade Holding Corp. began a multichannel marketing campaign yesterday with a television spot featuring a bull and a bear exchanging banter about market conditions.

The campaign, which also will include online ads, direct mail, print and e-mail, is in keeping with the brokerage's track record of using humor to promote its brand.

Though the company would not say how much it is spending on its newest campaign, it has budgeted $70 million to $90 million for advertising this year.

The spot features the bull and bear in a diner making market predictions for the coming year. Not surprisingly, the bull is confident and optimistic while the bear is reserved.

Anne Nelson, Ameritrade's chief marketing officer, said that each channel used to market the brokerage is intended to complement the others, even though they use different creative.

Ameritrade is using several different-sized banner ads, including the recently approved larger ads. The brokerage also is using e-mail. Though e-mail is not a large part of the company's marketing mix, it is an important one, she said.

She estimated that the Internet represents 30 percent to 50 percent of the brokerage's marketing efforts. Direct mail accounts for about 10 percent.

Nelson would not reveal the size of the company's lists but said that it uses inhouse and rented lists.

"We have a prospecting list and get a list from our partners," she said. "We use compiled and vertical lists. But we try not to go out in an unsolicited way."

The campaign's online and direct mail segments will be complementary, Nelson said.

"The Internet and direct mail will play off of each other's key messages," she said. "We have a very strong call to action online. We try to maximize the capabilities of each medium."

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