Trimark sponsors TV show

One of Canada's best known mutual funds companies has underwritten a one-hour tv show that seeks to educate women about investing as well as broaden its appeal to one-half of the population.Cynthia Caron Thorburn, vice-president of marketing for Trimark Investment Management,...

One of Canada’s best known mutual funds companies has underwritten a one-hour tv show that seeks to educate women about investing as well as broaden its appeal to one-half of the population.

Cynthia Caron Thorburn, vice-president of marketing for Trimark Investment Management, says the program, called Investing in Yourself, is an extension of the mutual fund company’s Appreciating Your Worth initiative that targets women through education.

Investing in Yourself airs in Ontario on Global TV the weekend of Sept. 9.

A national rollout for the program, in English only, is still being planned.

Caron Thorburn, who spoke to Strategy shortly after watching final edits of Investing in Yourself, says the program is designed to educate viewers on investment strategies, and, also, generate goodwill for Trimark.

Caron Thorburn is careful to point out Investing in Yourself is not an infomercial or a hard sell of Trimark mutual funds.

On the contrary, she says, it is a softer sell since women and men, the research shows, are quite different when it comes to investing, with women being ‘much more conservative.’

Trimark does not sell mutual funds directly to the public. It sells them instead through a network of private brokers.

The soft sell of the program is not incidental, says Caron Thorburn, but dovetails neatly with the approach of Appreciating Your Worth, which up to now has been largely confined to educational literature and seminars for women led by investment professionals.

Bill Johnston, Lauron Productions’ executive producer of Investing in Yourself, says the show contains ‘no branding’ and Trimark adopted a ‘total arms-length’ attitude during the show’s production.

Investing in Yourself barely contains any evidence Trimark underwrote the program.

Caron Thorburn says there is a short ‘pbs-like’ introduction to the program announcing Trimark’s sponsorship and company advertising during commercial breaks.

Other advertisers

But she says other firms will advertise during the broadcast, too.

Global TV had only sketchy details about Investing in Yourself.

A spokeswoman said the network’s September schedule has not been confirmed, nor has Global seen a final copy of the Trimark program.

She did say Investing in Yourself is a ‘time sell.’ That means Trimark has bought the time from Global for the Investing in Yourself broadcast.

The first half of the program profiles the investment case histories of six mostly affluent women.

Caron Thorburn says the women are author Joanne Thomas Yacatto; Sharon Bar-David, a family psychologist; tv producer Inez Colabrese; Gail Vaz Oxlade, editor of a new women’s money title, Financial Express; Bernice Miedzinski, head of Money Skills, a financial education company, and Ellen Roseman, a Globe and Mail finance columnist and reporter.

For the second 30 minutes of the program, Thomas Yacatto, Bar-David, Roseman and Miedzinski form a panel to answer questions from a studio audience of women.

Johnston says the studio audience numbers about 80 or so.

He says Trimark sent out a mailing and took other steps to ensure a cross-section of women’s financial experience was represented.

Johnston, who had the initial idea for Investing in Yourself, will not disclose how much the program cost although he says it was ‘a lot less’ than one suggestion of $300,000.

Lauron Productions retains the rights to Investing in Yourself.

Johnston says one of the added benefits of the program is that it can be given away on video cassettes.

In fact, that is how Trimark plans to get extra marketing mileage from the broadcast.

Caron Thorburn says her company plans to send a copy of Investing in Yourself to all unit (funds) holders and, perhaps, to financial planners and brokers as well.