Sign up today and take advantage of member-only content — the kind of timely, cutting edge industry insight that only Money Management Executive can deliver.
  • Exclusive Online Only Content
  • Free Daily Email News Alerts
  • Asset Management Blogs

Nuveen Breaks Out with Super Bowl Ads

John Nuveen & Company of Chicago was scheduled to run an "inspirational" 60-second commercial starring Christopher Reeve during the first quarter of Super Bowl XXXIV last Sunday. This was to be Nuveen's first television commercial.

The Nuveen commercial also was scheduled to air during the Super Bowl's post-game program. The ad, which cost Nuveen $5 million, starred actor Christopher Reeve. Fallon McElligott of Chicago designed the ad.

In the ad, Reeve, who is wheelchair-bound as the result of a horseback riding accident, appears to rise out of the wheelchair and walk. The premise is that medical research and advances have helped fuel Reeve's recovery.

The ad symbolizes the opportunities we have to help those around us and leave a living legacy for generations to come, according to Nuveen.

"Our goal is to change the way people think about wealth..." said Tim Schwertfeger, chairman and CEO of Nuveen in a statement.

The ad initiates Nuveen's new "Leave Your Mark" ad campaign. The campaign was designed to help investors and their financial advisors discuss family wealth management.

"We are trying to raise the public dialogue on wealth from glamour to responsibility, from luxury to legacy," said Schwertfeger.

Although Nuveen sought to get advertising time during the Super Bowl, few other fund advisers did. The NFL predicted Super Bowl ads would be viewed by about 800 million people in 80 countries.

Janus Capital of Denver, Colo., which ran an ad during the Super Bowl three years ago, decided not to this year, said a company spokesperson. Alliance Capital Management of New York, which aired a Super Bowl ad two years ago in a few regions, also decided not to advertise during the event this year, said Duff Ferguson, a spokesperson for Alliance.

"The primary reason is that it has gotten too expensive and we feel our resources are better allocated elsewhere," he said.

Other fund sponsors, including OppenheimerFunds and Dreyfus Funds, both of New York and Fidelity Investments of Boston, which have developed TV ads for general use, also chose not to advertise during the game.

Some technologically savvy financial service firms found other ways to advertise during the Super Bowl. E*Trade of Menlo Park, Calif. sponsored the game's half-time show, making it the first e-commerce company to do so.

Other fund sponsors who were reluctant to pay the high cost of conventional advertising during the Super Bowl, turned to so-called "virtual" advertising. Princeton Video Imaging of Lawrenceville, N.J. developed the ads for two Canadian mutual fund companies as well as for Charles Schwab of San Francisco.

Princeton projects corporate logos with taglines or logos alone onto the screen while a program is being aired, said Dennis Wilkinson, president and CEO of Princeton. Princeton has agreements with several organizations, including major league baseball and the National Football League, to superimpose the corporate images during their games.

"Princeton takes camera-ready data, then identifies areas appropriate for images" to be displayed, said Wilkinson. "It gives the look and feel as if they (the ads) exist in the actual location." The images are projected during the game action.

"You don't lose your audience to the refrigerator," as with commercials, he said.

As well as for Schwab, virtual image ads were developed for the Dynamic Mutual Funds, sponsored by Dundee Mutual Funds of Ontario, Canada, and for TriMark Investment Management of Toronto, Canada. TriMark is manager of three mutual fund families: TriMark Enterprise Funds, Trimark SEG Funds and TriMark 100% RSP Funds. All of these ads were only to be included on the Canadian feed of the Super Bowl. But companies could choose to send their corporate images to any of the countries in which the Super Bowl is aired.