The Institute of Management Accountants is launching an advertising campaign on television, radio and online to promote the Certified Management Accountant credential, including commercials on late-night talk shows and Saturday Night Live.

The commercials will highlight the tagline, “CMA: You’ve got to earn it,” stressing the training that goes into earning the CMA credential. The commercials show a management accountant who is so proud of his CMA certification that he gets a large tattoo on his back, while his co-workers line up to be next for their tattoos. The ad campaign was created in partnership with The Gate | New York, an advertising agency whose research found that 40 percent of adults 26 to 40 years old have at least one tattoo (while 43 percent of people with tattoos think a tattoo with a personal meaning is the most important factor). The commercial can be viewed on YouTube here or at the end of this article.

“This is to highlight the value of the CMA, helping individuals advance their careers, and helping them close the skills gap that CFOs report on finance teams today, particularly in the areas of planning, analysis, control and decision support,” said IMA senior vice president Dennis Whitney. “What that tagline means is that any employer who is hiring a CMA can be assured that they have taken a rigorous exam in the 11 most critical competencies required to do the job today. You have to take the test, you have to study, and you have to meet the mastery level required.”

The IMA plans to run the commercials on late-night talk shows like “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” and Conan O’Brien’s “Conan,” in addition to “SNL.”

The ad campaign will run between 13 to 21 of the spots over a five-week timeframe in September and October in six markets: New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Phoenix and Houston. In January and February, the campaign will return for six weeks in those same six markets, along with four others: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Dallas.

The IMA will also be running radio ads in the same six markets in the fall on Sirius Radio, CNBC, Bloomberg and NPR, along with local stations like New York’s Z-100, WPLJ and WWPR.

In addition, the IMA plans to run a mix of print and digital advertising in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Briefs, Forbes, SmartBriefs, and accounting and finance trade publications, including Accounting Today.

The IMA does not have any specific targets for signing up new CMAs immediately through the campaign. “It takes a long time to make a decision,” Whitney pointed out. “It’s not like buying a refrigerator. You have to study. You have to think about it. It’s an investment not just of money but of time. It’s usually about a six-month or a yearlong process of making that decision to pursue it. We do have long-term high hopes for the campaign, and we think it’s going to be a great success in driving more people to the CMA program and then raising the competency level on the finance teams as a result.”

In the meantime, the IMA has been steadily growing the number of CMA credential holders.

“We’re dedicated to helping to close the talent gap,” said Whitney. “The CMA program has been doing that for over 40 years now. We’ve certified over 50,000 CMAs, and we’ve had a strong growth rate of 17 percent the last year. We’re a global certification, and our mission is to advance the profession.”

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