FANNIE MAE SELLS AMERICAN DREAM: FOUNDATION PLANS NEW COMMERCIALS FOR FALL TV

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Fannie mae Foundation uses an integrated marketing strategy to sell the American Dream of homeownership.

According to John Buckley, senior VP-communications at Fannie Mae, the government-chartered financing company for home mortgages, one out of every four mortgages made in the U.S. goes through the private corporation that purchases loans and guarantees payments to more than 2,000 lenders.

The foundation -- a separate non-profit organization -- has been airing a direct response TV campaign and will unleash a new flight of TV commercials this fall via GSD&M, Austin, Texas. It also plans to air an infomercial weekly on BET.

The new effort will continue to include Spanish-language commercials to air on Telemundo and Univision. In addition, it will continue the Univision effort that pairs a 30-second Spanish-language commercial with a 30-second spot featuring the hosts of "Despierta America."

"The foundation considers Univision a critical partner," said Mr. Buckley, who also oversees the foundation's consumer efforts.

The fall effort marks the first time the foundation purchased TV time during the upfront selling season.

"It was a successful upfront for the cable networks and broadcast networks and for us," said Mr. Buckley. "We got the inventory we will need to have in the months ahead, without having to participate in a tight scatter market."

According to Competitive Media Reporting, Fannie Mae Foundation spent $31.9 million in 1998.

EMOTIONAL PITCH

The creative uses emotional themes, and all TV spots include a toll-free phone number to call to request a brochure. Since the foundation began advertising in 1993, more than 7 million brochures have been requested -- about 1 million per year since 1996.

"When you buy a home you're doing something that is good for all of us. Home ownership means safer streets, better schools, stronger communities," said Duff Stewart, senior VP-account director at GSD&M. "So we tried to start linking the purchase . . .with the bigger picture."

Multicultural marketing has been a cornerstone of the foundation's effort since its foray into advertising in 1993.

There are 70 million U.S. homeowners, according to 1999 estimates by the National Association of Home Builders. About 46% of all Hispanics and 47% of all African-Americans own their own homes.

"Fundamentally, it's a good business opportunity. It's a competitive market and lenders are looking for more business," said Dave Ledford, VP-mortgage finance at the association.

To tap the opportunity, Fannie Mae hired Vada Hill, former chief marketing officer for Taco Bell Corp., as its senior VP-marketing.

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