McCarthy Becomes TV Broker

1-800-Mutuals Awards Broadcast, Cable Creative, Buying Duties
DALLAS–The McCarthy Group (TMG) here has landed its second client in Dallas-based 1-800-Mutuals, a privately held mutual funds brokerage house.
The business, estimated by agency principal Tim McCarthy at $5-6 million in billings, includes broadcast creative and buying duties on national cable and network television.
McCarthy said TMG was hired by 1-800-Mutuals after a referral from its other client, affinity credit card issuer MMG Direct of Irving, Texas. MMG became The McCarthy Group’s first account (estimated at $12 million annually) in June after the shop spun away from McCarthy’s core automotive marketing business, now operating as Strike.
Branding itself “America’s mutual funds superstore” on its Web site, the company has utilized print, outdoor and Internet advertising in recent years, said McCarthy. Those duties remain in-house.
The company’s message is aimed at investors who are seeking an independent broker working on a non-commission basis, said McCarthy.
“They are unbiased,” said McCarthy. “They don’t have a list of funds and say [to investors] ‘pick from these.’ A lot of our target is not only the guy with considerable net worth, but the younger male or female, maybe 35-40, with $5,000 to $10,000 to place in funds.”
The television commercials will involve imaging work, admittedly a test for McCarthy’s creative team. The staff mainly has experience in developing quick-hit, direct response TV advertising for car dealers and MMG, McCarthy said.
Client chief executive officer Rick Sapio did not return calls at press time to discuss the review process.
According to Corporate Financing Week, the firm is seeking to go public as early as this year, having discussed a $50 million IPO with bankers in 1997.
Financial Net News stated last December that a six-month test of Web banners on Yahoo!, Women’s Wire and America Online generated only 100 new customers for 1-800-Mutuals, after the brokerage spent $200,000 on click-through ads. Despite the poor performance, the company still decided to strike a deal to market itself on AOL’s Digital City earlier this year, per FNN.