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MassMutual Financial Group breaks a $15 million campaign today to change its image from an insurer to a full-service financial company.

Thirty-second TV spots from Bozell Worldwide, New York, feature "Frasier" star John Mahoney as "The Smart Guy," a savvy investor who cruises along, unfazed by stock market jitters. In each ad he calmly explains that he doesn't worry about his money to people he meets at places such as the golf course, an airport and a Wall Street hot dog stand. In explanation, he points to the blue-and-white MassMutual logo, which appears on the scene as a bus board, newspaper ad or even on a golf ball.


MassMutual "primarily has been perceived by the public as an insurance company. But it has $200 billion in assets, a lot in non-insurance products," said Bozell Account Director Geoff Hatheway. "That's a part of MassMutual that people don't understand."

The company -- founded in 1851 as Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. -- has subsidiaries including mutual fund company Oppenheimer Funds and investment managers MML Investors Services, David L. Babson & Co. and Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers.

It is one of many insurance companies that have revamped their images as financial advisers to get a slice of that booming market. The former Nationwide Insurance Enterprise, for example, is launching its first national TV spots Sept. 1, touting its full-service capabilities and shortened monicker Nationwide (Advertising Age, May 24).

Bozell's last effort for MassMutual was insurance-related. It featured family vignettes with the tag "We help you keep your promises." This time, the company chose the tagline "The blue-chip company" to reflect the non-insurance companies under its wing, Mr. Hatheway said.

The campaign breaks on opening day of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Spots will run on the U.S. Open broadcasts on CBS-TV and USA cable network; during broadcasts of the Ryder Cup golf tournament on NBC-TV and on that network's Sunday public affairs show "Meet the Press."


The media schedule was chosen to mesh with the target audience -- people aged 35 to 64 with incomes of more than $75,000 a year, Mr. Hatheway said.

A print effort will follow, probably early next year, he added. The ads will continue to "really hit hard at this financial services message," but possibly won't include Mr. Mahoney as a spokesman. That type of character works best on TV spots, while print is a better medium for a more extensive message about

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