The Super Bowl already has a winner: E-Trade.
The online broker, now owned by Morgan Staney, is bringing back its famous talking baby for the February 13 big game.
A source close to the company confirmed that E-Trade will run a commercial during Super Bowl LVI on NBC and its streaming service Peacock that will feature the voice of comedian Pete Holmes as the chatty E-Trade baby.
NBC has said that virtually all the ads have sold out, with some 30-second spots costing a record $6.5 million. E-Trade would not confirm that the baby is making a return…or how much its ad will cost.
But the company posted a video for a commercial on YouTube, titled “The Search is On” that features two executives talking on what viewers assume is a speaker phone to a person that they are urging to come back.
The ad ends with the camera zooming in on a baby monitor, which briefly flickers, prompting one of the adults to ask if it’s past his bedtime.
The baby first appeared in an ad for the company during the Super Bowl in 2008. The cute baby, sitting in a high chair, touted how easy it is to invest online. (Holmes made his first appearance in an ad in 2010.)
“Click. I just bought a stock. You just saw me buy a stock. No big deal. I mean, you know. if I can do it. You can do it,” the baby says before spitting up milk in the original ad. (Some would argue that throwing up after buying a stock was an apt metaphor for 2008. The market plunged later that year.)
The baby starred in more ads for E-Trade, including some commercials with multiple baby friends buying stocks, until the spots were retired in 2014.
So why is Morgan Stanley (MS), which bought E-Trade for $13 billion in 2020, resurrecting the baby now? Will he be touting the virtues of cryptocurrencies and meme stocks?
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management chief marketing officer Andrea Zaretsky was coy. In a statement to CNN Business, Zaretsky said simply, “We’ve reached out to an old friend to help us” tell the story about the combined E-Trade/Morgan Stanley.
E-Trade ran a Super Bowl ad last year too, after several years away from the big game. The company also had a famous series of ads in the early 2000s (at the height of the dot-com bubble) featuring monkeys. E-Trade joked in those spots that it was wasting money on the ads.
E-Trade and Morgan Stanley said that the new commercial was created by agency MullenLowe. Tor Myhren, the creator of the original baby spots for marketing firm Grey, is now the vice president of marketing communications for Apple (AAPL).