French-owned global financial services giant AXA has launched a new $30 million TV and print campaign to sear its androgynous name into America’s consciousness.

The name was coined to have no specific associations in any language across the globe; also to be easily pronounceable in every nation where the company has a presence. Trouble is, AXA means nothing whatever to 80% of US citizens.

The new campaign via New York’s Seiter & Miller Advertising aims to remedy this, “not just by telling people who we are, but what we can do for them,” according to AXA’s vp for advertising and communications, Terrance Little.

TV ads are appearing on what Little calls the firm’s “franchise properties” – programs such as CBS College Football Halftime Report, Face the Nation, ESPN and CNBC – while print ads are running in Fortune, Forbes, Business Week, Golf Digest and Black Enterprise.

The entire campaign is built around eight of AXA’s real-life financial planners, who are seen advising on specific financial needs such as retirement savings, or handing over a family business to a new generation via a tax-friendly scheme. S&M creative director Livingston Miller says that the focus on the planners is "unique in the industry".

“Our model is different,” Miller claims. "It is a live human being who takes the time to sit down and talk about what really underlies financial decisions."

News source: New York Times