Brokerages Miss Chance to Score Big at the Super Bowl

by on Feb 22, 2017

In the days that followed one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history, focus turned not only to the New England Patriots’ surprise upset but also to the game’s increasingly popular commercials, with articles springing up online on everything from Airbnb to Mr. Clean. This year, more than 60 major brands advertised during the Super Bowl, primarily for food, beverages or automobiles. While H&R Block and TurboTax took advantage of the upcoming tax season and SoFi built on its viral success from last year, not one brokerage firm advertised during the big game.

This choice is somewhat surprising, given brokerages’ constant attempts to attract new investors, particularly in the coveted Millennial demographic that is shifting from traditional financial stalwarts, like brokerages, to disrupters like SoFi and automated investment platforms. Because Millennials are less likely to have relationships with traditional brokerages, these industry mainstays should aim to make their services known in areas outside of their traditional advertising go-tos, and large televised events, such as the Super Bowl, present the perfect opportunity.

More than 114 million Americans watched the Super Bowl this year, and most of them weren’t only interested in the game. A recent USA Today article found that only a third of viewers watch for the game, while more than half of Millennials watch for the half time show and the commercials. Similarly, a Venables Bell & Partners study learned 78% of viewers would rather watch the game with commercials.

While Super Bowl commercials are notoriously pricey, averaging $50 million per 30 seconds of commercial, brokerages should take advantage of such opportunities to advertise to a wide population base, especially considering that a few have recently launched ad campaigns designed to target new investors: Ameriprise’s Be Brilliant campaign highlights the firm’s advisors and investing for different goals while TD Ameritrade’s campaign encourages investing for clients of every level of net worth.

The last time a brokerage advertised during the Super Bowl was in 2013, when E*TRADE released comical, relatable commercials to attract a younger population and promote the simple, online investing platform. While E*TRADE has not recently advertised in the Super Bowl, the firm did have success, with a 19% increase in online applications in the week following the 2010 Super Bowl. More firms should consider promoting their new online advisory platforms as well as their traditional brokerages by releasing ads during highly watched events to spur conversations about their companies and investing in general.

E*TRADE Commercial