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Rating:Hancock Keeps Asking 'Who Knew?' Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, September 26, 2011

Hancock Keeps Asking 'Who Knew?'

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

John Hancock Funds is extending its latest advertising campaign. Today the Boston-based mutual fund firm revealed that its "Who Knew" TV, print and online ads will run through the end of 2011. The campaign will include ads on ABC, CBS, ESPN and ESPN "during key college football matchups," according to the asset manager.

Hancock launched the campaign in February to help leverage its insurance brand strength in the mutual fund business [see MFWire, 2/15/2011]. Keith Harstein, president and CEO of John Hancock Funds, claimed that the campaign has been extremely effective.

"We saw a 50 percent increase in advisers who said they would recommend John Hancock Funds to new or current clients," agreed Carey Foran Hoch, senior vice president and head of marketing. "We saw a more than 188 percent increase in advisers who called us, with 57 percent recommending our funds to clients, and 54 percent conducting online research about John Hancock Funds.

Company Press Release

BOSTON, September 26, 2011 – John Hancock Funds is extending its highly successful “Who Knew” advertising campaign through the end of 2011, with ads on TV, and in print and online media. The campaign originally launched in February of this year.

Designed to increase awareness of the breadth and quality of John Hancock’s mutual fund family among investors and financial advisers, the “Who Knew” campaign leverages the strength of the iconic John Hancock brand.  The key message of the campaign is that, while John Hancock is widely recognized as a provider of life insurance, annuities and long-term care insurance, it is also a leading mutual fund company offering four- and five-star funds, as rated by Morningstar®, concentrated in large asset-gathering categories that are often cornerstones of investors' portfolios.  

“We have been very pleased and excited about the effectiveness of ‘Who Knew,’” said Keith F. Hartstein, President & CEO of John Hancock Funds. “And we look forward to sharing more ‘Who Knew’ facts in the weeks and months ahead. For example, most financial advisers and investors probably aren’t aware that John Hancock, when including all annuity, life, pension and mutual funds assets, is the nation's largest provider of Target Risk (Lifestyle) portfolios, eclipsing such household names as Fidelity and Vanguard in assets under management.”

Mr. Hartstein added:  “Our research shows that financial advisers and investors are hearing our message – that we are delivering better performance results across a wider spectrum of fund offerings than ever before – and they are following up on that message, as evidenced by our record sales last year and continued strong sales momentum in 2011.”

The ‘look and feel’ of “Who Knew” is similar to parent company John Hancock’s award-winning “Cursor” ad campaign, which reflects how prevalent it is today for conversations to take place via Instant Messaging on a personal computer or mobile device.  In one print spot, the first message reads:  “Mutual Funds from John Hancock? Who knew?’ and the typed comment is:  “Well, Morningstar® knew.” Another ad begins:  “You probably don’t think of mutual funds when you think of John Hancock,” followed by:  “See why you should.”  The print and online ads show the messages in colored dialog boxes, while the television depiction of “Who Knew” is hushed, with the only sound a tapping on a keypad.

“In post-campaign tracking studies, we saw a 50 percent increase in advisers who said they would recommend John Hancock Funds to new or current clients,” said Carey Foran Hoch, Senior Vice President and head of marketing for John Hancock Funds. “Total visitors to our John Hancock Funds web site increased nearly ten percent during the initial phase of the campaign, compared to the prior six months.  Overall, more than a third of advisers responding said they had a more favorable impression of John Hancock Funds as a result of the ad campaign.”

“Regarding actions taken, we saw a more than 188 percent increase in advisers who called us, with 57 percent recommending our funds to clients, and 54 percent conducting online research about John Hancock Funds,” Ms. Hoch added.

The fall media plan will run through mid-December, focusing on high profile sporting events. TV ads will appear during key college football matchups on CBS and ABC, as well as on cable networks including ESPN and ESPN2.

The “Who Knew” campaign will have additional visibility on financial cable networks CNBC and Bloomberg, and advisor-focused websites including Morningstar.com and TheStreet.com.   Print ads featuring the campaign will appear in Financial Planning, Investment Advisor, Plan Sponsor and Registered Rep.  Online ads will be featured on: ESPN.com, Forbes.com, Morningstar.com, SmartMoney.com, SportsIllustrated.com, TheStreet.com, and WallStreetJournal.com.

Boston-based Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos created the campaign for John Hancock Funds. 

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