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Rating:Fund Firms Try to Reach the Masses Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, September 10, 2004

Fund Firms Try to Reach the Masses

Reported by Theresa Sim

Fund firms are facing unique communication challenges as the wave of scandals washes over the minds of retail investors and advisors. Some firms, like Putnam, have combated negative publicity with major advertising campaigns, while even scandal-free firms perhaps seized on the opportunity to promote a clean bill of health and racked up advertisements as well. Data from an advertising tracking firm, Competitrack, helps fill out the picture.

Making Advertisers Happy
Fund Families TV spots, First Half of 2004 TV spots, First Half of 2003
American Century 30 12
Barclays 145 622
Dreyfus 0 106
OppenheimerFunds 1964 3311
Putnam Investments 0 481
T. Rowe Price 24 1637
Total 2163 6169
Note: only includes media tracked by Competitrack
Putnam, T. Rowe Price, Barclays and OppenheimerFunds all increased television advertising in the first half of this year compared to the first half of last year.

Putnam did not advertise via the boob tube in 2003, according to the data. But in the first half of 2004, as part of its larger marketing campaign, Putnam placed 481 spots during shows like CNBC's "Squawk Box," "Wake Up Call" and CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight."

Putnam has only used television advertising once before, and not for a major campaign, said Gordon Forrestor, marketing director of Putnam. The fund firm used television for the first and only other time in 1999 to 2000.

"We did a significant rollout around the NCAAs," said Forrestor.

OppenheimerFunds placed more than 1000 more television spots in the first half of 2004 than in the first half of 2003, according to the data. The fund firm placed ads during local news and sports, college basketball, CNN's "Power Lunch" and "Headline News," as well as, like Putnam, many CNBC political talk shows. OppenheimerFunds has been advertising on television since 1996, said spokesman Gregory Stitt.

T. Rowe Price also increased television ad buys dramatically, from 24 in the first six months of 2003 to a whopping 1,637 in the first half of this year. Spokesman Steve Norwitz confirmed that the fund firm's spending on advertising and promotion in the first half of this year was much higher than last. At the same time, it decreased print buys from 281 to 256.

T. Rowe Price's ad buys favored CNN's "Headline News" and local news.

A few fund firms' focus on television did not mean that print was ignored.

Scandal-free Vanguard and Fidelity increased print ad placement in the first half of this year compared to last. Vanguard placed ads in local and national newspapers, while Fidelity focused on national publications such as Barron's, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and USA Today.

Read This
Fund Families Print Insertions, First Half of 2003 Print Insertions, First Half of 2004
Alliance Capital 2 2
American Century 31 52
American Express Financial Advisors 0 11
American Funds 11 0
Barclays 46 53
Dreyfus 91 105
Evergreen Investment Management 3 0
Fidelity 156 199
Janus 40 6
Merrill Lynch 0 5
MFS 0 8
OppenheimerFunds 9 14
Putnam 0 4
T. Rowe Price 281 256
Smith Barney 5 0
State Street 28 0
Vanguard 74 144
Total 777 859
Note: only includes media tracked by Competitrack

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