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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Adverts remember lost colleagues
Cantor Fitzgerald employee Amy Nauiokas as she appears in the firm's new adverts.
Amy Nauiokas: Taking care of the families drives us

Aggrieved Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald has launched an advertising campaign aimed at building its business while it honours those killed in the 11 September terror attacks.


They had to do something to acknowledge the fact that Cantor Fitzgerald is inextricably tied to the attacks

Margaret Duffy
professor of advertising
The bond trader, which occupied five floors of the north tower of the World Trade Center, lost 658 employees in the attacks.

The $4m advertising campaign features employees who survived the attacks remembering co-workers and talking about the need to rebuild Cantor's business.

The ads, which are shown both on television and in print, have caused some to question whether its appropriate for the firm to create an advertising campaign based on the tragedy.

Getting the message out

"It's certainly the first time that a company has used 11 September outright as an advertising theme," says Mercedes Cardona, financial editor at Advertising Age magazine.

Cantor Fitzgerald employee Steve Merkel as he appears in the firm's new adverts.
Steve Merkel: "We have to keep going"
While some firms mentioned the attacks in adverts immediately following 9/11 to reassure customers, she says, none has taken the step Cantor has in having employees reminisce about those who died.

"We haven't heard these type of testimonial ads used except for charities," Ms Cardona says.

For some it raises the question of taste, a topic that is always at the forefront of any ad campaign.

But most say Cantor has simply found a way to acknowledge that it was deeply affected by the attacks, while getting the message out that it is moving forward with its business.

Surviving family members have largely been supportive of the adverts as has a victims-support group.

Pledging profits

In order to be effective, not only in selling a product or service but in avoiding offending people, firms and their advertising agencies are always in search of perfect pitch, says Margaret Duffy, professor of advertising at the University of Missouri.

"What they are doing is using this as some sort of strategic way of getting back in the selling business and out of the grieving business.

"They had to do something to acknowledge the fact that Cantor Fitzgerald is inextricably tied to the attacks."

While Cantor has struck a delicate balance in assuring the adds don't offend, Professor Duffy says Cantor may have failed to convey what it is they are selling.

They ads, which feature nine surviving Cantor employees, do not mention the firm's eSpeed electronic bond-trading software.

Rather, they dwell on the need for Cantor and its employees to get on with building the business, while remembering those who were killed.

"If you were to view these, you would have no clue what eSpeed is or why I should buy it," Professor Duffy says.

Driving force

Cantor undeniably has had a tough time following the attacks.

Rumours swarmed immediately after 11 September that the firm would cease to exist, having lost three-quarters of its New York staff and nearly all of its staff who specialised in trading stocks.

Employees of the firm have been scattered among several locations throughout the New York metropolitan area, and the firm remains committed to helping the families of deceased employees.

Cantor has pledged that 25% of its profits over the next five years will go to support the families of its former employees who were killed in the attacks.

That commitment is the driving force behind the efforts of all the current employees at Cantor, says Amy Nauiokas, senior vice president of global marketing.

"It's everything that we are as a firm," she says.

"The whole concept of taking care of the families is what drives us. It's why we get up in the morning."

See also:

14 Sep 01 | Business
14 Sep 01 | Business
14 Sep 01 | UK
14 Sep 01 | Americas
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