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Thursday, August 26, 2004

ABN Amro? What Does That Mean?

Reported by Theresa Sim

ABN Amro Asset Management has a foe, and its name is lack of recognition. The asset manager is promoting its brand in an effort to eradicate that question from the minds of potential clients.
The asset management arm of Dutch bank ABN Amro started running print and online advertising touting its 401(k) plan services in May, said Michael Castino, director of marketing for the firm. Ads emphasizing the firm's funds will follow this fall. Both ads will run through April of next year.

ABN Amro is running the primarily print and web banner advertisements in trade publications, such as PlanSponsor, EB Advisor, and Financial Planning magazine.

The ads, targeted almost exclusively towards intermediaries, are "purely image advertising," said Castino. Potential clients will not see a particular product in the ads, but the company's name itself.

In the print ads, a large "ABN Amro" looms over two people engaged in a question and answer session. In one ad, a woman asks of the brand, "What's that mean?" A man standing opposite the woman replies "Commitment to service." Other ads are similarly "Q&A."

The 401(k) ads also directly list Mark Metz, senior vice president and director of sales and marketing for ABN Amro's Retirement Plan Services group, and his contact information. The fund ads will likely be similar, with some copy changes, said Castino.

The results of an initial awareness study conducted by ABN Amro have been positive, and the firm plans on conducting another study later this year, said Castino.

In other marketing efforts, ABN Amro funds is a "platinum sponsor" of Charles Schwab's upcoming Impact 2004 conference.

Chicago-based Fairman Schmidt & Hurley developed the ads. 

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