They say that one of the best ways to make money, other than starting your own reality show on cable, is to invest it wisely. There are countless brokerage companies out there looking to earnestly take a cut of your money so that they can dump it all in a junk fund that will make themselves and their cronies all feelthy rich and living it up at Millionaire Acres while you have to take up residence on the Poor Farm…
As the 80’s dawned upon us and the culture of greed was ready to explode on the scene like spiked hair and excess makeup, old established houses of financial wisdom had to hit the airwaves and advertise among the hoi polloi of consumer items out there if they wanted to ensure those hefty commissions kept rolling in. One of them even managed to create an ad campaign that, while not all that well remembered, was quite popular and recognizable at the time its commercials were airing in the late 70’s and early 80’s. For this week’s Retro Ad Tuesday, let’s take a look back at the brokerage that could silence the noisiest crowd….
If you are as old as me (or, dirt, in other words), you probably recall the famous tagline to this campaign…. “When EF Hutton talks, people listen!” So you got this guy mentioning EF Hutton and hushing an entire airport, even the guy who was getting a cavity search by the TSA. You also had golfer Tom Watson shushing a golf crowd… which really isn’t all that much of an accomplishment since they don’t let real sports fans who hoot and holler into a golf tournament. And this diner silencing an entire restaurant full of millionaires and snotty waiters because apparently his brokers can predict the winning lottery numbers.
This is my favorite EF Hutton ad, though… the first commercial in this video:
You gotta love an old, conservative outfit like EF Hutton going totally non sequitur and playing off the fact that their founder’s first and middle initials were consecutive letters of the alphabet. Ebeneezer Scrooge would be proud of this ad.
These kids aren’t even old enough to get an allowance yet, but they want to know what EF Hutton has to say about stock in WordPress, or those all important chileh futures. Kids, sit back down in your chairs and let me give you a lesson about how the people who make their living off of Wall Street can sometimes set a bad example you wouldn’t want to listen to…
The same decade that gave us Michael Milken and the Savings and Loan scandals actually started off with a little bit of financial shenanigans by the brokerage everyone wants to listen to. EF Hutton found a clever way to spend the same money twice in what essentially amounted to check kiting. They constantly wrote checks their asses couldn’t cash because they were also spending the money in the account the check was going to draw from when it cleared. Since this was still 1980, and it took about seven years for a check to clear the bank (that may be a slight exaggeration), it gave the boys at EF Hutton a nice little window to use their money in the bank, while also having the spending power of the check that is in limbo. While EF Hutton was able to dodge any severe penalties once their little scheme was uncovered by the federal government in 1984, the bad publicity led to a lot of lost business and EF Hutton faded from the public’s eye for good…
In a rather interesting sidenote, the company we used to know as EF Hutton eventually wound up merging with another brokerage that had a famous ad slogan around the same time as Hutton’s…. Smith Barney!
Here at The Nest, we don’t have any investments other than the crap we get by being employed at Mecca and the stash of acorns we have buried in the backyard collecting ants, but no interest. But many others like to invest in the market of corporate America, so we’d like to give a cup of the ear salute to EF Hutton for being able to stop traffic back in the day when people actually overheard conversations and weren’t lost in smartphones or iPods. When The Nest squawks, people listen… and we get our likes the old fashioned way…. we
suck up earn them!