Positive results from its “Who Knew” advertising campaign have prompted John Hancock Mutual Funds to extend the campaign through the end of the year—with ads on TV, online and in print, including in Financial Planning.

The campaign showcases John Hancock’s four- and five-star mutual funds, as rated by Morningstar, and points out that while the company has long been known for its insurance and annuities, it is also a major asset management firm.

Since launching in February, the campaign has since inspired financial advisers to say they are now 50% more likely to recommend John Hancock funds to clients. And nearly a third, 30%, say they now have a more favorable impression of the fund complex. In addition, during the initial phases of the campaign, traffic to John Hancock’s website spiked 10%.

Perhaps even more striking, the number of advisers calling John Hancock has risen 188% this year, with 57% recommending the company’s funds to clients and 54% conducting online research about the firm.

“We have been very pleased and excited about the effectiveness of ‘Who Knew,’” said Keith F. Hartstein, president and chief executive officer 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 fund assets, is the nation’s largest provider of target risk, or lifestyle, portfolios, eclipsing such household names as Fidelity and Vanguard in assets under management.”

Hartstein said that the firm had record sales in 2010 and “continued strong sales momentum in 2011.”

-- This article first appeared on Money Management Executive.