Pioneer Investment Management of Boston has launched the first phase of a new multi-media advertising campaign which will run through the end of this year. The new campaign includes print ads, drive time radio spots, and outdoor billboard advertisements that will run in 14 commuter locations nationwide. The campaign will also include two 30-second TV commercials that will mark Pioneer's first major retail television advertising campaign.

The ads will focus on Pioneer's history and core competencies rather than promoting particular Pioneer funds and their performance.

"We are trying to create awareness of the Pioneer brand and reinforce the breadth of products to brokers and intermediaries," said William Poulin, senior managing director of marketing at Pioneer. "We wanted ads that build on our name recognition and branding, but also let people know Pioneer can offer solutions to challenges. We are appealing to them emotionally as well as educating them on Pioneer."

Poulin declined to disclose the cost of the campaign.

Pioneer's new advertising efforts began Sept. 19 with a series of print ads in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. The print campaign, called "The One," included consecutive ads running daily which counted down from ten to one.

The campaign was developed with the advertising firm of DiBona, Bornstein & Random of Boston which Pioneer chose to represent it a few months ago, said Poulin. The firm had previously created ads for Fidelity Investments, also of Boston and Warburg Pincus of New York.

Each of the first nine Pioneer ads have a half-shaded, half-unshaded box with a number between one and ten written on it. Beneath these numbers was simple text exploring a different challenge individual investors might face - from planning for a child's education to choosing from among the 14,000 existing mutual funds. Each ad said that Pioneer could help solve that challenge and most pointed to Pioneer's lengthy history that began with the launch of the groups flagship fund in 1928. Several of the ads also suggested counseling with a financial advisor as a solution to the problem raised.

Each ad ended with a different tag line, but all on the theme of Pioneer being "the one." Tag lines included, "The one with a long tradition," "The one for diversification," and "The one for the long term." Pioneer's revised ship logo appeared at the bottom of each ad.

The ten-ad print series culminated with a two-page ad running on consecutive pages. The first page of the final ad had the final number - one - and summed up the challenges mentioned in the previous ads, urging readers to "Discover how Pioneer can help you."

The second ad again used the "one" concept by printing the Pioneer name, with the center three letters (o-n-e) highlighted and beneath it the phrase "The one to watch for."

Pioneer print ads with different copy but the same concept are set to run in Forbes, Money and Mutual Funds Magazine and several broker/dealer trade publications, said Poulin. The radio ads, which will air during rush hours on National Public Radio through November, as well as the TV and billboard ads, will all carry similar but slightly different messages, said Poulin. The theme of the new campaign will also be used on the Pioneer's website, he said.

Two 30-second TV ads, which portray people thinking about their finances in a solitary moment, began airing on Oct. 2 on five financial news and business programs on CNBC.

For a broker-sold fund group like Pioneer, achieving brand awareness means creating a predisposition among the broker sales force to have Pioneer on their list of funds and to be easily recognizable to clients, said Stan Bornstein, president of DiBona, Bornstein & Random.

"With the tangle of thousands of competitors, the legal disclosure and the potential commodity perception, I want something that will resonate with different audiences," he said.

"The One" concept was created because it can be used in many applications, said Bornstein.

"We saw the central three letters - o-n-e - in the Pioneer name as irresistible," he said. The underlying concept was to have "some graphic device to connect the company to the message in the way that no other company can," he said.

"The ads reach in two directions [to brokers as well as investors] and intimately connect with the brand identity of the company, giving people a way to remember them," he said.

Pioneer is also considering trying to raise its visibility through the sponsorship of cultural or sports events, said Poulin.

Pioneer has chosen to embark on this rebranding campaign just as it takes on a whole new identity. On Sept. 29, shareholders of Pioneer's publicly-held parent, Pioneer Group, approved the sale of the company to UniCredito Italiano S.p.A. of Milan. UniCredito is one of Italy's largest banking groups.

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