Evergreen Funds, First Union Corp.'s $54 billion-asset mutual fund unit, plans to launch its first television advertising campaign in February.

The campaign, which will run through the end of 1999, is part of a larger branding effort that Evergreen began this year in the print media. The fund family is trying to create an identity separate from that of First Union, its Charlotte, N.C., banking parent.

"This is a continuation of our strategic plan to build our brand," said Ruth Papazian, director of marketing communications at Evergreen. "TV was always in our plan."

First Union has been using television extensively to promote its own name and image. But by building a unique identity for Evergreen, the fund unit's executives say, they hope to compete more effectively against well- known, nonbank fund companies like Fidelity Investments and Oppenheimer Funds.

Evergreen's television campaign is still being fine-tuned, but it is expected to focus on some of the same themes tackled in Evergreen's print effort this year, Ms. Papazian said. These include market volatility and the need to take a long-term view of investing.

The ads will also seek to emphasize Evergreen's heritage, Ms. Papazian said. Through its 1996 acquisition of Keystone Funds, Evergreen can trace its history back to 1932.

In addition to scenes designed to promote the Evergreen name, the spots will feature investment performance data.

The campaign will run on both network and cable channels and will be developed by Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco.

This year Evergreen earmarked $4 million for advertising. Next year's budget will probably be three times as large, Ms. Papazian said. The fund company will also step up its print campaign in January with more frequent ads, she said.

The public's obsession with the stock market has prompted more fund companies to use television in recent months to reach investors. And at least one banking company, Fleet Financial Group, has already begun jockeying for position, using television ads to tout its $16 billion Galaxy Funds.

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