Picton Mahoney takes a swing at mass marketing

The asset manager builds its first TV campaign around a key passion point to guide investors through a tumultuous market.
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When a golfer takes a swing, the ball’s trajectory is never totally predictable. And asset manager Picton Mahoney is using the measured choices a player makes to show how it can help clients deal with the ups and downs of the market in its first TV campaign.

In the campaign’s three spots, golfers have to overcome difficult lies, like a steep hill or a tree obscuring the green, to hit their target – Picton Mahoney’s twin bracket logo – as president and CEO David Picton explains how, just like golfers consider risk with every shot, the company considers risk with every decision it makes.

Phil Clark, Picton Mahoney’s head of marketing, tells strategy that as one of the original hedge fund companies in Canada, Picton Mahoney has seen its fair share of volatility, which its investment funds are meant to minimize, especially in these uncertain times. According to the latest data, the S&P/TSX Composite Index has not experienced the level of market volatility it has seen this year since 2011. 

“These are designed to remove volatility, to smooth it out, and provide a much more comfortable investing experience,” Clark says, making it the perfect thing to focus on for its mass-marketing debut. He adds that investor psychology has proven that, over time, investors tend buy and sell at the wrong moments.

Clark says Picton Mahoney is looking to improve its brand awareness and unaided recall. Though seemingly niche, golfers are a key demo, as they have high disposable income and are already somewhat knowledgeable about investing – enough to know that this is volatile time that might require a bit of extra guidance and a more secure option for their investments.

“We also wanted to catch advisors in their leisure mode…and as many advisors are golf enthusiasts, so we thought this was an optimal way of making our first tiptoe into a mass media space,” Clark says.

The asset management firm is combining golf themed creative with golf-themed sponsorship, backing TSN’s Golf Talk Canada, airing the spots during the program.

Competitors include Fidelity Investments and CI Global Asset Management coming entering the space and offering similar products like liquid alternative funds, mutual funds or ETFs that aim to provide investors with diversification and downside protection. Previously, Picton Mahoney has been “quiet and targeted,” in its marketing approach, using trade publications, some print and digital directs via Wealth Professional and Advisor Analyst, publications targeting the country’s financial advice and planning professionals.

“Spending more in our media is to ensure we aren’t lost in the noise the competition generates with all their media buys,” Clark says.  

Individuals who would normally be travelling to key golfing locations like Florida or the Carolinas are now home with more disposable income, Clark says, making this an even busier time for planning ahead for the upcoming calendar year.

Church+State is behind the effort, with production coming from AirFoil Media. Appropriately, given the golf theme, the campaign is in market for 18 months.