All That Glitters

E*Trade has a new commercial that plays into every financial insecurity you could possibly have. It features a young guy dancing around on a yacht full of champagne and models, and at the end, a voiceover says, “The dumbest guy in high school just got a boat. Don’t get mad. Get E*Trade. And get invested.” It’s like they brought the Rich Kids of Instagram to your high school reunion.

While probably effective, this commercial is terrible. It plays on insecurity to create an action; specifically, it makes you want to be the guy on the yacht, so you create an E*Trade account and start day trading. Unfortunately, you’ll end up no happier and no richer, but E*Trade will still get its commission. So let’s break it down:

First, why do you want to be the guy on the boat anyway? The commercial even says he was the dumbest guy in high school, and he doesn’t seem to be very cool. He’s not even with anyone. Sure, he’s surrounded by people that want to use him for his yacht, but he doesn’t have any actual friends.

Second, why do you think “beating” this guy will make you happy? Obviously, the tagline is a play on the old cliché, “Don’t get mad, get even,” which never actually works. You don’t find happiness by outdoing someone because there will always be someone doing just a little bit better. You find happiness by maximizing your own potential and achieving your own goals.

And third, why do you think you will make any money day trading? I don’t care what that instructional YouTube video says - it just doesn’t work. If E*Trade’s tagline were, “Get E*Trade. And get invested for the long-term by building a diversified portfolio based on your individual risk tolerance that will allow you to accumulate wealth over time,” then that would be a much healthier message.

Admittedly, it’s a fun commercial, and I’m sure it’s generated some business for them. But don’t let them bait you into the get rich quick narrative. It never works out.


Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at