In a new ad campaign, New York Life aims to distinguish itself from AIG and the growing host of other beleaguered financial services companies by emphasizing its long history, big surplus, AAA rating and customer-focused, mutual ownership structure.

"New York Life has a national advertising campaign running now that uses our well-known 'blue box' logo to anchor the branding and express the idea that life insurance is a selfless gift," said William Werfelman, New York Life vice president and spokesperson.

The new ads, which began running this month, "will emphasize that, even in these uncertain economic times, New York Life is a solid, secure insurance company that the public can depend on today, tomorrow and every day," he said. The ads were created by Taxi New York.

Werfelman said the "selfless gift" campaign would continue with a new round of TV commercials immediately after the presidential election. Additional ads are planned that will assert that "New York Life is a Main Street firm, not a Wall Street firm." The ads, also from Taxi New York, will direct consumers to New York Life agents and the corporate website.

"We have taken this focused approach to promoting our financial strength before, most recently in August 2007 when this financial crisis was already brewing. At that time Standard & Poor's upgraded New York Life to its highest rating, AAA," Werfelman said.

"That upgrade gave us the highest ratings from all four major rating agencies -and we developed an ad to celebrate that fact."

(c) 2008 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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