Stocks Rattle, Ads Roll

Shops Use As Many Tactics As There Are Clients
NEW YORK–The turmoil roiling worldwide markets has prompted a variety of tactical responses from agencies with financial services clients. Some rushed out new or altered advertising in order to reassure investors, while others held back in the belief that their customers are savvy enough not to require hand-holding from brokers.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter was clearly in the former camp, with a print ad in The Wall Street Journal from Leo Burnett that carried the headline: “This is no time to go it alone.”
“You [don’t] want to do anything short-term that’s inconsistent with your long-term brand building,” said Mike O’Neill, a vice president and account director at Burnett.
Fidelity Investments and agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos ran an ad in last Tuesday’s WSJ stating, “Today is one of those days when experience matters most.” Stephen Cone, president of Fidelity Customer Marketing and Development, said it had ads already prepared for a sharp drop in the market. Fidelity, which breaks an image campaign this week featuring investment guru Peter Lynch and actress Lily Tomlin, will alter its media plan so that one spot which focuses on what to do in times of trouble airs more frequently.
Gotham and E*Trade decided Monday night–after the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 512 points–to revise a TV campaign highlighting the client’s Web site, which offers speedy trade functions when brokers are not available by phone. “We’ve been doing a little scrambling here,” said Stone Roberts, Gotham chairman.
Prudential rushed out an in-house spot Sept. 1 featuring investor-on-the-street interviews and officials from the firm offering reassurance.
Online broker DLJDirect and The Romann Group discussed and opted against short-term ads, said creative director Gad Romann. The DLJ customer is a serious investor who does not need reassurance in a volatile market, he said. –with Scott Hume