NEW DISCOUNT BROKER RELIES ON TOLL-FREE NUMBER: FOUNDER REVIVES TACTIC HE USED WITH 1-800-DENTIST SERVICE

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A former stockbroker is hoping a phone number will help sell a start-up deep-discount brokerage to investors.

Gary St. Denis, who in 1986 organized Futuredontics and marketed it with ads that focused on its number-1-800-DENTIST-has now helped organize Professional Discount Securities and will employ the same tactic.

TV and print ads for the 3-month-old venture will prominently feature the company's number, 1-800-4STOCKS.

`AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE'

"We want to make it as clear and as simple as possible for people," said Mr. St. Denis, who helped organize the company with Thomas F. White & Co., a brokerage. Mr. St. Denis is marketing director of Professional Discount, a unit of White.

Keeping it simple has worked for Mr. Denis before. Last year, Futuredontics handled more than a million calls and earned $29 million.

The brokerage's advertising is handled by Donat/Wald, Santa Monica, Calif., which has worked on Futuredontics almost since its inception.

Print ads already have appeared in Investor's Business Daily and Barron's, and ads will start running on CNBC next week.

Media buying will be handled by 800 Marketing, a sister company of Donat/Wald that also buys media for the dental referral system.

$10 MIL BUDGET BY '99

Mr. St. Denis said he plans to spend $1 million on advertising in 1997. He hopes to spend $5 million in 1998 and $10 million in 1999.

The company plans to eventually advertise the brokerage service on network TV, Mr. St. Denis said.

Besides being emblazoned with the broker's phone number, the ads will tout the company as a high-service alternative to other deep-discounters, said Lucas Donat, agency CEO.

"We're catering to people with extensive portfolios who don't have time to wait on the phone," Mr. Donat said.

Mr. St. Denis said the company will be able to back up the quality claims for two reasons: White's nearly 20 years of experience in the brokerage business and his own history with 1-800-DENTIST.

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