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Simon English: Hunt for sense in weird world of Artemis ISA ads


Outlook It's ISA season, which means fascinating newspaper supplements that are a real treat to read and loads of bizarre adverts.

Advertisements for fund managers flogging individual savings accounts can only be one of two things it seems: weird or boring.

Firmly in the weird category are the Profit Hunter ads from investment management house Artemis. They've been running for years, but are getting stranger with time.

The idea behind the campaign is that the Artemis experts roam further afield than rivals in search of profits. Indiana Jones-like characters are pictured stalking big game in far away places.

Let's allow that bringing an esoteric concept such as stock-picking to life is not easy. That granted, Artemis, named for the Greek goddess of hunting, is sending odd messages here.

I asked a rival fund manager the other day if I was alone in finding Artemis confusing. His response:

1. Rather than roaming the world like an armed vagrant, shouldn't a professional fund manager know where to find profits?

2. If "The range of the Profit Hunter grows ever wider" does this mean that Artemis is finding it increasingly difficult to track down decent profits?

3. Does "Today's hunters cover huge distances" sound efficient or inefficient?

4. Why are profits depicted in the shape of an extinct flying dinosaur?

5. Why, in the case of the desert location, is the hunter there in the first place? Deserts are deserted. The clue is in the name. It is a silly place to go hunting.

6. Isn't the point about a professional hunter that he knows his terrain? Professional hunters don't suddenly discover they are in the wrong place and there is nothing to hunt.

7. In many of the illustrations (which include the hunter in a hot air balloon, a sea plane, on a canoe in rapids, on a snow mobile in the mountains), his rifle is not to hand. So even if he chances across a pterodactyl he's not in any position to shoot it.

8. What are the chances of hitting anything with a rifle from a canoe that looks like it is about to capsize?

9. If you were a pterodactyl and had just had a low-flying seaplane come over would you stick around?

The Artemis ads are presumably deemed to work. What this says about retail investors is probably not flattering.