If a mutual fund company's return on an advertising campaign could be measured in terms of growth in assets under management, then the five-year-old print ad campaign of Putnam Investments of Boston has delivered a 256 percent return on investment.

A tremendous increase in assets under management since Putnam began advertising in print - from $90.93 billion in December 1993 to $323.8 billion today - prompted the firm to launch its first-ever television advertisement on Oct. 24. Putnam is hoping the 30-second TV spot will reinforce its continuing print campaign and elicit an even more enthusiastic response from investors, said Louise Kuo, managing director and director of corporate marketing at Putnam.

Like Putnam's print advertisements, the television advertisement is part of the firm's continuing "Boundaries" campaign. This campaign stresses Putnam's truth-in-labeling, style-adherence philosophy and commitment to long-term investing, said Kuo. The print ads, and now the television spot, stress how working within boundaries is helpful in everyday life, not just to investors, she said.

The TV spot depicts a woman swimming in the lane of a pool, a girl playing hopscotch and a car tire hugging a corner as it stays in its lane, Kuo said.

"We think investors . . . should know what they are investing in," Kuo said. "We wanted to show them that Putnam's disciplined investment management approach, which the ad describes as staying inside the lines, can help them achieve their financial goals."

Putnam is running the television spot on the national cable stations CNBC, CNNfn and Bloomberg Television. It will also appear in the New York and Boston markets during the Sunday morning political talk shows "Meet the Press" on NBC and "Face the Nation" on CBS.

Putnam believes these shows will reach people with discretionary assets to invest, Kuo said. Depending on what kind of response these ads produce, Putnam may expand its TV ad budget in 2000, Kuo said. Putnam will track response to its TV ad campaign by monitoring visits to its web site and to Putnam financial advisors, Kuo said. Kuo declined to disclose Putnam's advertising budget.

Margeotes/Feritta + Partners of New York created the television spot for Putnam.

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