A TV CAMPAIGN IN 1967 THAT MADE THE LEAST-KNOWN WALL STREET BROKERAGE FIRM FAMOUS. (WE MADE WALL STREET BREATH WITH LIFE AND TALK LIKE PEOPLE.)

“LOIS, WE CAN’T LET YOU KEEP RUNNING THAT JOE LOUIS SPOT FOR EDWARDS & HANLY! WE CAN’T ALLOW THE MOST FAMOUS TESTIMONIAL EVER FOR A STOCKBROKER TO BE A...BLACK MAN.”

 

When creating the first TV campaign ever for a stockbroker (and for Edwards & Hanly, the least known) we needed unlikely celebs, whose presence would swiftly suggest that here was a smart, sharp bunch of brokers, unlike all the traditional, stuffy Wall Street houses. Joe Louis led my list, a great man who got screwed by the government, lost all his money and ended his years living off the kindness of friends. Using the Brown Bomber was a powerfully subtle way of telling the world that Edwards & Hanly were not just hip shooters--and were tuned into the real world. The spot was a mere ten seconds long: Edwards & Hanly--where were you when I needed you?, he asked. It was also a full-page New York Times ad with Joe’s beautiful puss, sad and deep and spectacular. The commercial was an immediate sensation as the media exploded with articles by sportswriters, gossip columnists, financial writers, and mass culture buffs, all clamoring to write about the almost forgotten champ. Edwards & Hanly’s business skyrocketed as they became (in a few weeks time) as famous as Merrill Lynch. Where were you when I needed you? declared that Edwards & Hanly was an honest, thoughtful broker that understood the perils of flashy advice. Because Joe Louis was a thorn in America’s conscience, the message had the impact of Joe’s first-round knockout of Hitler’s favorite fighter, Max Schmeling. But Joe’s ten seconds became too famous for Wall Street to take. Racism, once again, reared its ugly head, and the bigots at the Exchange KO’d Joe Louis.