In 2001, mutual fund ad campaigns looked very different than they have in recent years. In 1999 and 2000, bragging about performance was in. Last year, since most funds had horrible one-year performance, firms ditched the performance advertising and instead spread messages of the importance of a long-term, disciplined investment approach.

Advertising as a whole dropped in 2001, but equity fund advertising was especially low. Spending in that category was $62.9 million in the first half of 2001, down 17% from that of 2000, and those numbers have likely dropped further in the second half of 2001, according to Competitrak, a New York-based firm that tracks advertising spending.

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