Australian legislation spurs financial marketing

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SYDNEY--Well known Australian insurance company GIO is about to launch its first major mainstream advertising campaign to promote its financial services to consumers in their '50s and older.

GIO is taking a pre-emptive marketing strike ahead of legislation the Australian Federal Government is introducing July 1. The legislation effectively opens up Australia's $151.8 billion superannuation industry by giving employees the right to choose from multiple funds.

GIO is attempting to increase its share of the superannuation pie by establishing a strong brand in the arena. Recently, international players such as Merrill Lynch, Mercury, Bankers Trust and Principal have arrived on the scene and have all started activating marketing initiatives.

The $3 million campaign will also see GIO competing against the AMP brand, a majority shareholder of GIO. "We're going to make a big, powerful statement about the GIO brand. We are not just competing against the AMP but the entire financial services market," says Ross Butler, executive director of GIO financial services.

"Things like brand become a very powerful link with both customers and prospective customers. Our research shows that those companies with a secure and powerful brand will do well under a choice of brands regimes."

Created by Sydney ad agency BAM SSB, which is owned by Japanese advertising group Dentsu, the TV campaign uses a basic proposition to deliver its message. A group of people are about to sit down at a dinner party. Things become competitive as guests start swapping place cards to sit next to "Alex'' -- who is a GIO financial planner.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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