--Not sure why this never posted...so I'm re-posting for you fans out there. Sorry---
I've been meaning to write this story for a long time and was going to wait until the official 5 year anniversary, but since I will be unable to post for this coming week, I thought it would be great to load up some posts for you. And, what better story to tell then the Life and Times of Harrisdirect's Direct Investor Elsie Lee. Don't know the story of one of the greatest banner ads of all time? Well sit back and enjoy the story as it unfolds and if you are in this advertising space, you will enjoy learning about an ad that was Harrisdirect's most served ad for 3 years running.
Harrisdirect was the online brokerage company formerly known as CSFBdirect which was formerly known as DLJdirect which was formerly known as PCFN (try saying that in an intro). It existed up until E*Trade completed the acquisition in the fall of 2005. In the summer of 2001, the company then known as CSFBdirect was running an integrated offline/online advertising campaign starring a series of direct investors shot in black and white with a hint of red. The red was from the CSFBdirect logo.
After 9-11 we pretty much stopped all advertising and were sold to the Bank of Montreal. The company was named Harridirect which combined the name of BMO's US Bank Operations, Harris Bank, with the direct part of the CSFBdirect name. Plus, Harrisdirect picked up an upscale version of the Harris lion (Hubert). One of things that attracted BMO to Harrisdirect, was the synergies in marketing by going after consumers that wanted to direct their own investments - hence direct investors.
I ran a series of interim campaigns that demonstrated to the BMO personnel
that online advertising was an effective channel for acquiring customers and (I'm assuming here) that I actually knew what I was doing. I was never told this, but I always felt that the CSFBdirect marketing folks pretty much auditioned for our jobs. The interim campaigns that I ran with the help of Megan W, Jackie P, and Kari F were a lot of fun, featured some other direct investors, and we even tested some Eyeblaster ads that featured animals running across the screen being chased by a Harris lion. For more information, see Eyeblaster's case study.
It was that early spring of 2002, that we started developing plans for a major re-branding campaign set to launch at the end of May 2002. The offline advertising team that included then named advertising agency Messner (now Euro RSCG) was working on our campaign, while the online team led by myself with then named online advertising agency Modem Media waited for the creatives. And, that wait, dear friends, turned out to be well worth it.