Mutual fund companies spent more on advertising last year as they touted their products’ improved performance in a bull market, according to an industry study.

The companies spent roughly $515 million on advertising in 2000, an increase of 22 percent from 1999, the study said.

Mutual fund companies, meanwhile, shifted their marketing strategies from promoting image to boasting broad performance gains as equity markets boomed.

Television advertising accounted for nearly two-thirds of the spending. And while fund companies had historically favored advertising on cable stations, they shifted their focus to network advertising in 2000.

Use of print advertising declined. And companies increasingly turned to non-traditional approaches, such as sponsorships and elevator advertising.

The study attributes part of the increased spending to the hotly- contested U.S. presidential election, which brought throngs of viewers to television sets and prompted advertisers to vie for their attention.

The report was released by Financial Research Corp.ration, which used data provided by Competitrack of New York, which tracks trends in advertising.

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