Lynch Stages a Solo Pitch

Fidelity Investments Mulls Return of Rickles, Tomlin
BOSTON–Investment guru Peter Lynch appears alone in a new series of straightforward, product-oriented TV spots for Fidelity Investments.
Created by Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, the ads open with a question printed in white against a solid background. Lynch talks into the camera, making cogent points about the importance of long-term investments in a continuation of the “Know what you own. Know why you own it” theme introduced last year.
The spots, breaking this week on network and national cable television stations, are supported by radio and print ads.
Stephen Cone, president of Fidelity’s customer marketing and development unit, said new executions featuring Don Rickles and Lily Tomlin are under consideration for later this year. Previous spots featuring the comedians, while panned by creative critiques, have generated a significant increased in volume at Fidelity’s Web site and in one four-month period generated 225,000 calls to its toll-free number, Cone said.
Also in discussion is a dramatic new approach to pitch brokerage services. While Cone would not provide details, he suggested that celebrities or some kind of spokescharacter could be employed in new executions this fall. “Fidelity is the second-largest discount brokerage and we need to generate more awareness of our place in the market,” Cone said.
Spending is expected to remain consistent, Cone said. The Boston-based mutual funds giant spent more than $90 million on advertising in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.