MFS Enlists Allen & Gerritsen

Seeking to boost its image in the increasingly crowded mutual funds marketplace, MFS Investment Management has tapped Allen & Gerritsen for the creative portion of its $5-8 million advertising account.

The agency prevailed in a review overseen by Anne-Marie Doherty, an independent consultant in Natick, Mass. Tierney Communications of Philadelphia, Partners & Simons in Boston and Donovan Group, Northborough, Mass., also participated in the contest, according to Betsy Lee, vice president of advertising at MFS.

“We were very impressed with their strategic thinking,” Lee said. “They showed us that they were able to understand a very complex business, get inside the minds of our customers and produce materials directed to them.”

This is the first significant new business win for A&G since its chief operating officer Andrew Graff was named president. Graff took over some duties from chief executive Paul Allen.

There was no incumbent, as the Boston-based mutual funds organization parted with Warwick Baker O’Neill, New York, a year ago. Warwick’s print efforts were tagged, “We invented the mutual fund.” It has yet to be determined if A&G will continue to use that line.

Media chores, currently handled in-house, were not part of the review; the client will now evaluate Watertown, Mass.-based A&G’s media capabilities and may move those duties to the agency, Lee said.

“We’ve had a lot of people say that we’re the best-kept secret,” Lee said.

“I think they’re a great fit for us,” said A&G creative director Mick O’Brien.

The client claims to have invented America’s first open-ended mutual fund, Massachusetts In-vestors Trust, in 1924, the year the company was founded.

Today, MFS manages more than $163 billion in assets for more than 5 million individual and institutional investors worldwide and has more than 3,000 employees. MFS has, however, lagged behind competitors such as Fidelity, Charles Schwab and Janus in terms of advertising impact.

Best known as business-to-business specialist, A&G’s efforts for MFS will likely include print ads running in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Time magazine, as well as in financial trade publications targeted toward brokers.