Employing a strategy that some say has fallen by the wayside for the fund industry, TIAA-CREF is trying out a unique ad campaign in Detroit and Boston. If it is pleased with the results, the firm plans to expand the campaign to broader markets.

"We've never done this level of media before," said Deanne Shallcross, the firm's executive VP of marketing. "We're measuring it to see what it does for us and we'll evaluate it to see if we'll extend it to other places."

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