TRANSAMERICA TO TARGET ADS AT MUTUAL FUND NOVICES: TV, CAMPAIGN TESTS WATERS FOR $5 MIL '98 PUSH

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Transamerica Corp. is testing TV advertising for mutual funds in anticipation of an estimated $3 million to $5 million campaign in 1998.

Transamerica Premier Funds, part of the Transamerica Asset Management unit, plans to run a national print and cable campaign to build awareness and reach out to new investors-a niche it believes is underserved, said Senior VP Joy Heckendorf.

"The segment we're targeting wants accessibility," Ms. Heckendorf said.

FEATURING REGULAR FOLKS

The marketer broke three commercials in Phoenix last week that portray regular folks-a single mom, a minor-league baseball player and a blue-collar worker-who speak of their desire to invest. The ads tout a plan of setting aside $50 a month.

The spots, handled by Blazing Paradigm, San Francisco, were directed by fashion photographer Albert Watson.

Putnam Investments, meanwhile, has refocused the creative in print ads for its mutual fund.

While past ads focused on company attributes and expertise, new executions position Putnam as a company that manages its mutual funds according to clear, set guidelines without veering.

To drive home this message, the stark ads feature obvious headlines-such as "This is an ad in The Wall Street Journal"-and the line "Truth in labeling."

"The advertising is demonstrating the idea," said Fred Langbecker, managing partner of Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners, New York, which handles the campaign.

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