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ARK Funds Aspires to be Money's Best Friend'

The ARK Family of Mutual Funds of Baltimore will begin the second phase of its outdoor billboard advertising campaign next week, according to the company.

The new ads, with puppies as their stars, are a significant departure from the first phase of the campaign, which began in October 1999.

"This campaign is more playful than anything we've done before," said Micheal Mattingly, marketing manager at ARK Funds. "It is more attention-grabbing." ARK Funds chose to use images of dogs to demystify investing, so people do not feel overwhelmed by it, Mattingly said.

"We're trying to get across that a dog is man's best friend and ARK can be your money's best friend," she said.

The ads are a joint effort of ARK Funds' marketing team and Marriner Marketing Communications of Columbia, Md. and will run until the end of 2001. ARK declined to disclose the amount spent on the new campaign. However, Mattingly said the company is spending more than it has in the past on an advertising campaign.

The original ads were displayed in York, Pa. Now, ARK is extending the campaign to Harrisburg, Redding, Lancaster and parts of Maryland, Mattingly said.

ARK Funds has 21 mutual funds, managed by Allied Investment Advisors, with $6.6 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 8. Its 16 retail funds are sold through licensed representatives at Allfirst Bank of Baltimore in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware and parts of Virginia.