8 Memorable Wall Street Commercials

by Derek Loosvelt | February 04, 2011

In honor of this weekend's Super-30-Second-Spot Sunday, here are eight of the most memorable Wall Street-related television commercials of all time.

1. When EF Hutton talks, people listen.
How Hutton was able to convince oil tycoon J. Paul Getty to (sort of) pitch its products is a minor miracle. The billionaire's wave at the end of this ad is a major one.

2. Thank you, Paine Webber.
Even though this ad reeks of American cheese, it's hard to dislike the scrappy U.S. tennis great Jimmy Connors. Or forget a commercial containing a ridiculous cardboard likeness of him.

3. Citi never sleeps.
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but this melodramatic piece of celluloid gets me every time (and I'm not even a golf fan). Five bucks says it gets you too.

4. It's time for E*TRADE. The No. 1 place to invest online.
True, E*TRADE is hardly a Wall Street firm, but this list had to include at least one ad with a primate. And at least one that originally aired on Super Bowl Sunday.

5. Smith Barney. They make money the old-fashioned way. They earn it.
They sure don't make commercials like this anymore. In one of the most memorable campaigns (in any industry), John Houseman rips it out of the park, cementing Smith Barney as a household name. (Note: you have to fast-forward to 0:23 for the ad).

6. Shearson Lehman Brothers. Minds Over Money.
In this ad, which aired in January of 1987, the brokerage firm informs you, "While the stock market is at an all-time high, we believe it will go even higher." Then it goes on to tell you to give them a call so they can put your money in a bunch of stocks. What they didn't tell you (and, in their defense, couldn't at the time) is that the stock market crashed nine months later (the Dow fell more than 22 percent in October 1987 on what was later dubbed "Black Monday").

7. Nuveen. It's not what you earn, it's what you keep.
You have to love this ad (which aired at the height of the Reagan era) for the clarity of its message: give us your money, and we'll hide it in tax shelters.


8. Goldman Sachs Wealth Management. Heart and focus.
This is one of the few Goldman Sachs television ads to ever air on television. It's also one of the most nonsensical ads, in any industry, of any era, to ever air on television.

Filed Under: Finance


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