|Minneapolis, Minn. – Sept. 27, 2004 – Today, American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) (NYSE: AXP) launches a unique, new advertising campaign focused on the power of personalized financial advice in times of market uncertainty. The campaign focuses on the current mindset of mass affluent investors who are worried and concerned about their financial future.
“Investors need and want personal financial planning, knowledgeable advice and a trusted brand – this is what AEFA has always offered,” said Jim Cracchiolo, chairman and chief executive officer of AEFA. "It is this expertise and guidance that allows our clients to sleep at night.”
With the help of Ogilvy & Mather New York, AEFA decided upon this approach after conducting in depth research, including surveys and focus groups of mass affluent investors, current clients and American Express financial advisors. The consensus? Just as busy consumers look to experts for help with tasks such as home repair and taxes, they are also looking for financial professionals to provide personalized advice about one of the most important aspect of their life, financial security.
“The words and feelings portrayed in these ads reflect what investors told us about the want and worry they have about their financial situation versus the peace of mind they desire,” said Kim Sharan, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of AEFA. “This campaign is about telling confused investors what our more than two million people already know – personal financial planning and a long-term relationship with a trusted and knowledgeable advisor can result in peace of mind.”
Retirement and rewards
The ad campaign is one element of a broad-scale marketing focus to reach mass affluent consumers. “Mass affluent investors have an increasing need for personalized advice, especially for retirement planning,” said Cracchiolo. “There are millions of baby boomers on the brink of retirement who are concerned about making their money last. Personal financial planning provides the clarity and confidence that investors told us they need as they prepare for what could be up to 30 years in retirement.”
This year, AEFA introduced Gold Financial Services to recognize and reward AEFA clients with more than $100,000. Clients with over $500,000 may qualify for Platinum Financial Services, offered by a subset of specially-qualified advisors who are trained to provide guidance on these clients’ special financial needs. These tiered offerings provide a one-on-one relationship and personal advice from an American Express financial advisor, front-of-the-line customer service, annual fee waiver on IRA rollovers, quarterly fee waiver on the American Express ONE® Financial Account, upgrade to the highest tier interest rate on the ONE High-Yield Savings Account and preferred pricing and bonus rates on special product offers. In addition, Gold and Platinum Financial Services clients receive a fee-waived American Express Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum CardSM, respectively, with access to all the privileges and services that Card membership provides.
The personal advice, products and services of these tiered offerings rival those at other firms, such as private banks, that are reserved only for wealthy clients with millions in assets. “Mass affluent clients have special investment needs,” said Sharan. “Platinum and Gold Financial Services were designed with them in mind.”
Putting a face on personal financial planning and advice
In a new and unique look for AEFA, the ads are branded “The personal financial advisors of American Express” featuring the familiar American Express blue box logo. This approach communicates the importance of AEFA’s 10,400 financial advisors who provide personal financial planning and advice to their clients. It also conveys the company’s commitment to its advisor force who have been a key element in the company’s success for over 100 years.
The campaign begins with broadcast ads appearing in news, sports and entertainment programs on network and cable stations including “The Today Show,” “Monday Night Football,” “CSI,” “The Apprentice,” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” among others. In October, print ads will appear in a combination of weekly and monthly lifestyle, news, business and personal finance publications: USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Smart Money, Travel & Leisure, The Advocate, Golf Magazine, Sports Illustrated Select, Food & Wine, Oprah, Real Simple, Business Week, Fortune, Forbes and Black Enterprise. Both broadcast and print ads direct investors to the website at www.getadvice.com or to 1-800-GET ADVICE to find a financial advisor located near them.
American Express Financial Advisors is one of the nation's leading financial planning companies. It is part of the American Express Financial Corporation, which currently owns or manages more than $325 billion in assets. Through a network of more than 10,400 financial advisors and its online brokerage, the company provides financial advice, long-term financial planning and high quality financial products to more than 2.7 million clients throughout the United States.
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American Express Financial Advisors Inc. Member NASD. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.
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Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through American Express Financial Advisors Inc. (“AEFA”). Member NASD and SIPC. American Express Bank, FSB (AEFSB), member FDIC, provides certain banking features to AEFA. All deposit products and services are offered by AEFSB a federally insured financial institution. AEFSB deposit products are FDIC-insured up to $100,000 per customer. Charge Cards are made available through American Express Bank, AEFSB. Only American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and IDS Life Insurance Company are broker-dealers.
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