NEW YORK: Investools, the educational division of online brokerage firm Thinkorswim, launched the “401(k) New Year's Baby Scholarship” campaign this past Monday, December 8. It's a companion program to an advertising push, both of which stress the importance of investment training.
The company is offering free access, a “scholarship,” to its investing education course to the parents of the first 401 babies born January 1, 2009. Other rewards like a six-month subscription to Investools Investor Toolbox, a resource for investor data, will also be included.
The campaign ad spots, which also appear on YouTube, stand in contrast to the ETrade commercials that show a baby being able to invest with its online program. Investools, instead highlights a baby incapable of investing, and ends with saying, “It takes education to invest.”
“Now's a time to re-engage in your own education,” said Lee Barba, CEO of Thinkorswim. “It's a counterpoint to any message at any firm leading retail investors at a time of distress to think they can trade without investment of time and commitment to understand.”*
Ericho Communications is helping Thinkorswim communications effort. It began a national media outreach program on December 10, targeting top-tier business publications, financial wires, and general interest outlets. Outreach will continue through January 10 and focus on promoting the scholarship, YouTube spot, which is intended for viral use, and garnering media interviews with Barba.
“It's important that everyone knows the economic turmoil doesn't have to be bad news for all investors,” said Eric Yaverbaum, president and CEO of Ericho. “What we're preaching here is education, and if there's ever a time when people will hear it, it might be now.”
“We want to send a message that there's an answer, there's hope,” added Barba. “We're here to help you.”
CORRECTION: Due to a typo, a previous version of this article misquoted Lee Barba as saying, “It's a counterpoint to any message at any firm leading retail investors at a time of distress to think they can trade with investment of time and commitment to understand.” It should have read, "without investment of time..." rather than "with." We regret the error.