AIM MUTUAL FUNDS UNVEIL FIRST MAJOR AD CAMPAIGN: COMPANY PLAYS CATCH-UP WITH $15 MIL EFFORT INCLUDING TV

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AIM Management Group, the 12th-largest mutual fund company, is hoping to shoot into prominence with its first major advertising campaign.

The $10 million to $15 million effort, from Deutsch, New York, includes network TV spots that appeared over the weekend and print ads in major newspapers and financial magazines breaking this week.

"This is a pretty significant effort," said John Mittnacht, exec VP-group director at Deutsch.

INDUSTRY TURNING TO ADS

AIM is competing against a raft of other mutual fund companies that, more than ever before, are relying on advertising to build brand identity.

For instance, Janus Capital Corp. advertised during this year's Super Bowl and heavyweight Fidelity Investments, the country's largest fund, stepped up its TV advertising earlier this year.

Smaller fry are getting involved as well. Zweig Securities Corp. broke its first-ever TV campaign in the Dallas-Fort Worth market last month.

Apart from playing catch-up, AIM has another challenge: Its funds are only sold through financial advisers, so they have a lower profile among investors than those of some other companies.

"They have not been selling themselves to the investor side of the equation," Mr. Mittnacht said.

A CAUTIOUS COMPANY

For its first consumer campaign, AIM initially is running three 30-second spots that portray it as a cautious company that doesn't gamble in a bull market. The voice-over in one says, "Our mutual funds stick to a simple, clear strategy . . . strategies that are based in facts, not rumors." The tagline: "Invest with discipline."

"People want to know that this irrational exuberance that Alan Greenspan has been talking about has not been influencing the people who are managing their money," Mr. Mittnacht said.

TV buys include such programming as the National Basketball Association finals on NBC, Wimbledon tennis tournament telecasts, "20/20" and "Turning Point.

Radio spots may be added.

Contributing: Laura Petrecca.

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