RealTime IT News

TD Waterhouse Begins $100M Campaign

Discount brokerage and online trading company TD Waterhouse Group Inc. has launched what it expects will be a $100 million ad campaign featuring celebrities such as Geena Davis and Jackie Chan.

The company raised $740 million in its IPO in June. TD Waterhouse, which is 89 percent-owned by Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank, began running ads this week in newspapers and on city buses carrying the stock ticker-like slogan "Xprs yourself."

TV ads are said to be on tap.

"Our biggest shortfall was brand recognition," Stephen McDonald, who is also vice chairman of the parent bank, told Bloomberg News. "This is a big brand launch.''

McDonald said the company also plans to make acquisitions and may begin offering after-hours trading and shares in initial public offerings to its customers as it tries to gain on industry leader Charles Schwab Corp.

The ads talk to investors in a conversational tone and build a public identity for 20-year-old TD Waterhouse, said Randall Miller, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Agency details were not disclosed.

TD Waterhouse has a network of 160 U.S. branches that it expects to build to 200 in the next 18 months, as well as 40 in Canada.

Schwab has 300 branches. Last month the firm acquired U.K.-based Yorkshire Building Society's 120,000- account YorkShare brokerage for $15.7 million.