The marked decline in advertising expenditures by mutual fund and other investment firms this year - a staggering 70% decline in the first quarter and 50% in the second - appears to have abated with the fall season.*

Special Report:

Advertising In a Grueling Market

Could it be, coincidentally, the season premier of "Survivor" that has inspired the intrepid few?

Dreyfus, Pioneer Investments, New York Life Insurance Co. and The Reserve Funds have all debuted major TV, print and Web campaigns - a marked reversal from the dismal advertising climate of the past two years, particularly 2002.

Early third-quarter estimates from Competitrack, a New York advertising expenditure tracking firm, also show improvement. While advertising spending by investment companies is still in the red through July, down 36% at $182 million versus $283 million in the same period a year ago, at least it's heading back, albeit slowly, towards zero. Fund and other investment companies cut back on their advertising by only 14% in July, figures show.

In this special six-page report of Mutual Fund Market News, Reporters Chris Frankie, Tony Lystra, Lori Pizzani and Tamiko Toland take a look at the target markets, the budgets and the messages of these competitive new campaigns.

Next month, at its big meeting of the year, the National Association for Variable Annuities is set to announce a multi-million dollar marketing campaign with a star-quality spokesperson at the helm [story, page 3]. NAVA, which has always upstaged the Investment Company Institute with the likes of Jay Leno at its conferences, has really outdone itself this time. Can you guess who it is? Here's a hint: It's not Bill Clinton.

Also, don't miss a critical analysis of some of the best and the worst ads out there by Tony Lystra [page 8].

Let us know what you think of these campaigns, and if there are any other leading stories or reports you would like to see.

- Lee Barney, Editor


* [See MFMN 5/20/02, 8/12/02]

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