Barclays Global Investors readies $20M campaign to build brand in U.S.

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Barclays Global Investors, the world's largest institutional asset manager, will in March launch its first U.S. brand campaign.

The $20 million integrated campaign will consist of TV, print and online ads and direct marketing. Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco, is handling the campaign.

It will focus on Barclays' planned line of exchange-traded funds, 51 portfolios that will track various U.S. and international indices. Barclays Global Investors, which has more than $673 billion in assets under management, is the institutional subsidiary of Barclays plc, London.

Barclays Global Investors, San Francisco, wants its campaign to quickly build a brand image with U.S. high-net-worth investors, brokerage representatives and financial adviser firms, three groups the company has not previously targeted, said Paul Nobile, director of advertising and integrated marketing communications.

At the same time, Mr. Nobile said, Barclays is betting that the campaign will solidify the company's across-the-board recognition among institutional investors, including defined-benefit and defined-contribution plans. "We want the campaign to resonate with all the markets," he said.

The ads will concentrate on explaining the funds, in addition to building the Barclays brand, he said. The company plans to run ads on cable TV stations, including CNBC.

Extending institutional brand

Barclays' attempt to parlay its high-profile global institutional brand into U.S. markets where it is much less known is by no means a slam dunk. The company may not be spending enough to imprint its brand in the targeted markets, especially given the TV component of the campaign, said James Gregory, CEO of Corporate Branding L.L.C., Stamford, Conn.

"Twenty million dollars doesn't go a long way," he said. "TV is a good way to build up a brand image quickly but is also a good way to spend a lot of money quickly."

Yet, Mr. Gregory said, Barclays' plan to concentrate on explaining its exchange-traded funds in its ads is a shrewd way to play off the company's sophisticated reputation. "The product fits the brand profile of the type of product they're known for," he said.

Barclays' TV and print ads will give viewers and readers an overview of the exchange-traded funds, and direct them to Barclays' Web site ( for extensive information, said Curtis Melville, creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco. "We've found out that more and more with a sophisticated audience, the next step after seeing financial advertising is to go back to the Web for more information," Mr. Melville said.

Barclays recently started a print and online campaign in which it touts the company's institutional abilities. The ads have run in publications such as Institutional Investor and Plan Sponsor.

The campaign, titled "Welcome to a day at Barclays Global Investors," was designed to cement Barclays' brand among U.S. institutional investors. Michael Fisher, managing director-CEO of Barclays' U.S. defined-benefit division, said the campaign was produced internally and cost "in the low six figures."

The campaign, launched in mid-September, may eventually be tied into the March marketing push, Mr. Fisher said.

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