Hoping to bolster sales of its mutual funds and spread the word on its recently-created death benefit plan, SunAmerica Asset Management Corp. has launched its first-ever advertising campaign.

The print campaign began last month with a full page ad in The Wall Street Journal. It promotes SunAmerica's Style Select Series mutual funds and the SunAmerica Asset Protection Plan, a life insurance product released earlier this year that provides a death benefit for investors in SunAmerica mutual funds.

The print ads will appear in The New York Times, Registered Representative and Dow Jones Investment Adviser as well as The Wall Street Journal. The company declined to disclose how much it is spending on the campaign.

SunAmerica, Inc., SunAmerica Asset Management's parent company, has long advertised, both in print and broadcast media and some of its advertising has been devoted to specific products. However, this is the first time the company has advertised its mutual funds specifically.

In addition to the print advertising, SunAmerica Asset Management is distributing a new CD-ROM to affiliated broker/dealers. It is the first time SunAmerica has used CD-ROMs for marketing. The software is being distributed for free and offers commentary from portfolio managers on the Style Select Series, a group of nine funds that are each managed by three different advisers. The CD-ROM also includes commentary by Don Phillips, the ceo of Morningstar, the mutual funds research company. It also has links to SunAmerica Asset Management's Website. In August American International Group (AIG) announced plans to acquire SunAmerica, Inc. for approximately $18 billion. The deal is not expected to close until January. The ad campaign was launched without AIG's involvement and it was not influenced by the expected merger, said Betsy Treitler, a spokeswoman for SunAmerica Asset Management. AIG declined to comment on its advertising strategy for the SunAmerica brand until after the merger.

SunAmerica Asset Management has $2.5 billion in assets under management. In addition to the Style Select Series, it offers a variety of equity and income funds under the SunAmerica name. All of its funds are distributed by SunAmerica Capital Services through broker/dealers, insurance companies and banks.

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