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Janus of Denver, Colo. launched a new television advertising campaign early last month including four 30-second spots that stress the lengths to which Janus analysts and portfolio managers go to investigate the companies in which they invest.

The spots highlight four very different companies in which Janus is invested - a cable company, a phone manufacturer, an Internet server provider and a radio network. While all four of these investments fit the technology and communications sector, the investment stories each of these spots tell are distinctive and capture a viewer's attention.

The images in each spot, which include text of the voiceover message, leave the viewer with one clear message - Janus goes the extra mile to know more than its competitors about its investments.

The spot about the cable company, for example, opens with a view of a manhole. The camera takes the viewer far underground, where cabling is being laid.

"High finance underground," the narration says. "Janus is down here checking up on a potential investment, a communications company that says they've laid more cable than their competitors. They look great on paper. But Janus gets beneath the surface. Goes down and counts cable. They do have the most! They're ready to grow. Fast. Just what Janus was digging for. So, what's up with your own investments? Get there. Janus Mutual Funds."

In the commercial about the radio network, the image is of a high-fidelity stabilizer. But, this stabilizer does not operate like most. It is rainbow colored and responds in animated fashion to the voiceover. For instance, when the speaker talks about high growth, the stabilizer becomes a steep, upward bar chart. At another mention of positive returns, the stabilizer resembles a smiling face.

"What does a sound investment sound like?" says the narration. "Janus found a radio network with big plans. So, Janus did some high-frequency fact-finding. Went out to the stations. Sat down with their books. And their managers. And found out the stations were doing better then anyone expected. Music to Janus' ears. And proof that tuning into the details can turn up sweet opportunities. Sound good? Get there. Janus Mutual Funds."

Janus declined to disclose its target audience, where it is placing ads, its budget for this new advertising campaign or to discuss the spot's content.

But third-party data reveals that while Janus' broadcast and print advertising budget declined slightly last year - from $19.6 million in 1998 to $18.5 million in 1999 - Janus' network television budget grew substantially. Data is from the Television Bureau of Advertising, a trade association of TV stations based in New York. The network budget rose to $8.9 million, up from $5.6 million in 1998. This $3 million jump in Janus' network television expenditures last year came at the expense of its 1998 $3.5 spot television budget. In 1999, Janus spent next to nothing on spot television and moved that entire budget over to network television, the bureau data shows.

Of Janus' current television campaign, Foote Cone & Belding of New York, the ads' creator, said only that the firm has focused on performance in its advertisements for a number of years.

"They have stayed with this campaign and it has produced significant results for them," said Tom Robbins, a spokesperson for Foote Cone & Belding's San Francisco office.

However, at least one mutual fund consultant believes Janus' new advertising campaign will prove highly effective in attracting additional assets. Burton Greenwald, president of B.J. Greenwald Associates, a mutual fund consulting firm in Philadelphia, said he would give Janus' new TV campaign four stars for going beyond the performance numbers to highlight "the organization's extraordinary depth and breadth of investment research."

"I think the campaign is a real breakthrough in mutual fund advertising," Greenwald said. "It positions Janus as more than a hot stock picker and gives investors a [reason] to believe that Janus' strong results are not just a flash in the pan but have substantial underpinnings."