Gearon Puts New Face On Brown & Co.

After appearing as a cartoon character in broadcast and print campaigns for nearly a decade, George Brown is retiring from the ads that tout Brown & Co., the brokerage firm he founded in 1960.
“The desire was to extend the brand beyond his personality,” explained Bob Hoffman, president of Gearon Hoffman in Boston, which has handled the client’s account for more than 15 years.
Annual ad spending is in excess of $10 million, Hoffman said.
The agency’s latest effort for Brown & Co., now breaking nationwide, includes print ads and a 30-second TV spot dubbed “Pilot.” The commercial features a flyer who insists his special training should qualify him to trade securities through Brown & Co. Much to his dismay, he doesn’t meet the firm’s requirements for net worth and trading experience.
The work is tagged with the client’s familiar, “Where your experience pays off” line, but the cartoon Brown character does not appear.
“We would not go back to the animated Brown,” Hoffman said.
Just a year ago, the agency made the broadest use ever of the black-and-white cartoon character, unveiling six spots, including an execution in which Brown holds auditions for potential clients.
The new TV spot will run on CNBC, CNN and MSNBC, with print ads appearing in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and elsewhere. Brown himself now serves the firm in a strictly advisory capacity, Hoffman said. K

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.