Tenneco spots hit the Street

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Tenneco Automotive is targeting Wall Street with its first corporate branding campaign since its spinoff from conglomerate parent Tenneco Inc. three years ago.

The global marketer of Monroe shock absorbers and Walker mufflers breaks an estimated $5 million, all-TV push Sept. 9 created by independent Red Phone, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which will air through late October.

Spot TV in metropolitan New York accounts for roughly 75% of the media buy, via Media Period, also Bloomfield Hills. The spot cable buy includes financial and sports programming. The ads will also be seen locally on broadcast networks' nightly news programs. The spots air nationally on General Electric Co.'s CNBC.

Tenneco's stock fell by nearly 60% last September to $2.10 per share and by October the marketer was fighting speculation it would file for bankruptcy, according to Advertising Age sibling Automotive News. But its stock price has been climbing since hitting a low of $1.75 late last year, when it tallied annual revenues of $3.4 billion. The stock traded at close to $7 Aug. 26.

Tenneco's Jim Spangler, the VP who oversaw the new campaign, said the financial community painted the marketer with the same broad brush as other auto suppliers in 2001, several of which have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. One reason: Tenneco's spinoff left it highly leveraged, with $1.7 billion in debt. "We put our heads down and really chopped away at that debt," he said. "We saw our operations strengthening ... so it was time to increase awareness."

One :30, in black and white, shows a businessman reading the newspaper's financial pages. The stock symbols of General Motors Corp. and retail chains like Napa Auto Parts "drive" toward Tenneco's stock symbol "Ten" on the page. The narrator asks where top car and auto supply companies go for their shock absorbers and mufflers. "Our symbol is Ten. Our mission is go" is the tag.

The other :30, in color, asks what life would be like without Monroe shock absorbers (AdAge.com QwikFIND aan91c).

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