Scudder Kemper Investments of Boston began a multi-million dollar, month-long national advertising campaign April 17 that encourages investors to think about preparing for key life events. Scudder is calling the campaign "Be Ready."

Unlike previous Scudder ads that have focused on performance figures and Morningstar ratings, these ads underscore Scudder's long-term investment philosophy, said Howard Schneider, director of marketing for U.S. retail at the firm.

The campaign also differs from previous Scudder campaigns in that television, print and radio spots are taking parallel approaches, Schneider said.

The two television spots will be shown on CNNfn, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN and the Golf Channel. Print ads will run in The Wall Street Journal, Barron's and USA Today.

Beginning later this month and running through May 15, the print, cable and radio campaigns will expand to eight local media markets - Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Tampa, Fla.

Schneider called the tone of the spots "serious but hopeful."

"We are focusing on investors' needs and on Scudder as a solution to those goals," Schneider said. "With all of the performance ads currently running, we think we have to [stand out]. We don't want to be on the product treadmill."

Both of Scudder's new TV spots are somewhat avant-garde in that they show people in bizarre settings. The ads would border on the humorous if they did not ask viewers to think about serious life issues.

In the first TV spot, for instance, a woman sits on a bench looking very pensive in the middle of a wheat field. As she thinks to herself, a voiceover asks, "What if your kid gets into Harvard? What if your mother needs long-term care? What if both happen at the same time? Are you ready?"

In another TV spot, a harried businessman in a crisp business suit has climbed onto the wing of a parked 747 airplane. He appears indifferent as the paper contents of his entire briefcase are blown away by the wind. The voiceover asks, "What if you want to stop working for a living? What if you want to start living for a living? What if you want to do it sooner, not later?"

Both spots close with the presentation of performance statistics on three Scudder Funds.

"We are not trying to focus on the problem or trying to scare people into investing," Schneider said. "We are looking at provocative, serious issues, yes. But at the same time, telling investors we can provide hopeful solutions at Scudder."

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