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JOHN HANCOCK REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO 'COMPUTER' AD

 JOHN HANCOCK REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO 'COMPUTER' AD
 BOSTON, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock Financial Services


reaffirmed its commitment to a nationally acclaimed "Computer" TV spot today. The ad, featuring a young girl who stutters, has been commended by two speech organizations and received two awards for advertising excellence.
 "Computer," which has been aired on national and local television outlets as part of Hancock's award-winning "Real life, real answers,"(C) advertising series, presents a touching portrayal of a young girl determined to achieve her dream of becoming a writer.
 Following its release last year, the ad has been praised by the National Stuttering Project and The Hollins Communications Research Institute. Created by Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc., Hancock's Boston-based advertising agency, the ad received awards from Time Magazine; and from co-sponsors ADWEEK(New England) and the New England Broadcasting Association.
 The National Stuttering Project also acknowledged James Overall, senior vice president and creative director at Hill Holiday. Overall -- who stutters -- wrote the computer ad.
 "The spot is autobiographical. It comes out of my life and the lives of other stutterers I've met. The spot is about dreams -- where dreams are born, what our dreams must overcome and the determination to make our dreams come true," explained Overall.
 "Today I am a writer, but every single day of my professional life I talk and present my work to my colleagues and clients. Writing and talking are not mutually exclusive," added Overall, who actively participates in the agency's client presentations.
 In a March 11, 1992 letter from the National Stuttering Project, a 4,000-member San Francisco-based support and research organization for persons who stutter, the organization announced that its board of directors voted to commend John Hancock and Hill Holiday for the "Computer" ad.
 "The board felt that this commercial furthered the public's awareness that children who stutter have talents in other areas that need to be recognized," wrote Ira Zimmerman, a member of NSP's board and chairman of its Advocacy Committee.
 "The board urges additional ads that assist the public to understand the significant achievements of persons who stutter and how they communicate orally," added Zimmerman, whose organization utilizes chapter meetings, special programs, workshops, tape series and self-help groups to support stutterers and their parents.
 The Hollins Communications Research Institute, located at Hollins College in Roanoke, Va., described the computer ad as "positive and powerful." Hollins offers an internationally recognized research and therapy program for persons who stutter. The Hollins Fluency System has been successfully used with more than 3,200 clients in 23 countries, according to Catherine S. Wohlberg, assistant director and director of development.
 "The little girl has the motivation to accept her disability as a challenge," wrote Wohlberg. "I know that motivated stutterers can learn how to compensate for the physical distortions that are characteristic of their speech. It takes a lot of work, but the results are usually well worth it."
 In the Jan. 6, 1992, issue of Time, the magazine cited seven ads in its "Best of 1991 Advertising" review, including John Hancock's "Computer" ad. "This quiet ad for Hancock's college-funding program makes a powerful argument for dignity and the capacity to grow," noted the magazine.
 On June 2, co-sponsors ADWEEK(New England) and the New England Broadcasting Association unveiled its "Best of Broadcasting Awards" which recognized excellence in advertising for the New England area. Hancock's "Computer" spot was honored for the single award for creative excellence in the Services-Television category, which includes corporate, financial, real estate, and business-to-business advertising. Speech Therapy Coverage
 Insurance coverage for communication disorders is available to all Hancock client company employees on an in-patient basis. In addition, a large number of employers now choose to include out-patient coverage in their plans as well. And Hancock's own employee workforce also receives this benefit.
 Coverage varies from state to state and currently seven states (including Massachusetts) have mandated some form of coverage or early intervention for indemnity plans. In addition, coverage, where offered, will vary greatly between companies. Corporate Support
 Included within John Hancock's $3.1 million corporate contributions budget -- which supports a wide range of non-profit organizations throughout the United States -- is funding for several agencies that provide assistance to speech and hearing-handicapped individuals.
 Locally, Hancock contributes to the Language and Cognitive Development Center, Partners for Disabled Youth and Boston Guild for the Hard of Hearing. Nationally, John Hancock contributes to the United Way, which funds social services agencies, including those for the speech- and hearing-impaired. In 1991, John Hancock and its employees gave $2.1 million to the United Way. Employee Assistance
 "John Hancock has for many years employed disabled persons and accommodated their disabilities with job and equipment redesign and modification to its facilities," said Lyn Rosenstein, general director, employee relations.
 "We encourage applicants and employees who are disabled to discuss their special needs so that the company can work toward reasonable accommodations," she added.
 Hancock currently employs more than 60 handicapped persons in Boston alone, including individuals who are speech- or visually-impaired.
 Among the equipment Hancock provides to its speech- and hearing- impaired employees are special phone handsets containing a control feature that allows the hearing-impaired to adjust the audio level of calls, and telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) with keyboards for typing in messages that appear visually on the display of the receiver's TDD.
 -0- 6/10/92
 /CONTACT: Richard P. Bevilacqua of John Hancock, 617-572-6384/ CO: John Hancock Financial Services ST: Massachusetts IN: FIN SU:


SH-CN -- NE005 -- 8819 06/10/92 12:19 EDT
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