E-Trade Talking Baby Calls It Quits

In a long-anticipated show of mercy, E-Trade will retire the creepy talking baby that’s been a staple of its advertising since 2008. In a new March Madness ad, the mascot — who looks like a baby but, unnervingly, speaks in the voice of a full-grown man — finds himself upstaged by a singing cat named Beanie. After protesting the cat’s antics numerous times without success, the man-baby announces his retirement, then throws his cell phone at the camera and/or the viewer. Let’s all take a moment to be grateful.

E-Trade introduced the talking baby during the Super Bowl seven years ago in a TV spot that opened with the baby talking about stock trading and ended with him vomiting on himself. As AP notes, without any apparent irony, “having a talking baby trade stocks was a way to show people that E-Trade's investing services were so simple even a baby could make money trading stock on the site.”

A swell idea and all, but the execution was bizarre from the start. The fact that the baby had the voice of a laconic man in his mid-20s was unsettling enough, but then E-Trade had to go ahead and animate his lips — but just his lips — to make it appear as if he was actually mouthing the words coming out of his mouth. This is something that a baby is physically incapable of doing in real life, and as a result, had a disturbing, uncanny valley-esque effect.

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On the upside, Beanie the singing cat, in his brief appearance in the new ad, is delightful and charming. Let’s hope Beanie picks up where the talking baby left off.

Image: E-Trade