Fidelity Investments has raised the curtain on an advertising campaign featuring investment icon Peter Lynch and actress Lily Tomlin. But behind the scenes is another star-the creative force behind the company's efforts.
The way to get your message across is "not my pie chart is better than your pie chart," said Stephen A. Cone, president of Fidelity customer marketing and development. "American consumers are tired of that."
Splashy campaigns-such as one that featured Anthony Edwards of the hit television series "ER"-were Mr. Cone's hallmark in his recent stint as KeyCorp's marketing guru. He also published glossy annual reports formatted like consumer magazines, and put Charles Schwab on the cover of one.
You "have to have a little bit of entertainment in your message," said Mr. Cone, 48.
Fidelity's campaign, "Know what you own and know why you own it," aims to educate investors about both the company and principles of investing. It was created by Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopolus, a Boston ad agency.
Mr. Lynch, vice chairman of Fidelity's investment adviser unit, was an obvious choice for spokesman, Mr. Cone said. But "I didn't want Peter to be just a talking head. I wanted him to interact with someone who he would really enjoy working with and vice versa."
That led Fidelity to Ms. Tomlin. Coincidentally, she said at a press conference, a few days before Fidelity called her she had told a friend that she wished she could call Mr. Lynch for investment advice.
Mr. Cone said Fidelity approached other celebrities as well, though he declined to name them.
The commercials that made their debuts over the weekend feature Mr. Lynch discussing Fidelity's capabilities and successes. Others, featuring Mr. Lynch and Ms. Tomlin, will debut this weekend.
In one commercial, Ms. Tomlin is a customer at a newsstand, searching for financial solutions. As she reaches for magazines, they topple to the ground-and so does she. Mr. Lynch steps in and tells her, "Fidelity can help you work out what you should know."
Fidelity is running corresponding advertisements in newspapers and magazines including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, and Time, Mr. Cone said.