Canadian Bank Seeks Agency for $35 Mil. Biz

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is seeking an agency to handle its $35 million creative and media account. Although the assignment will comprise ad duties in Canada only, the client is inviting U.S. shops to pitch.
Westport, Conn.-based search consultancy Westport Consulting Group has been enlisted to oversee the review. According to Westport managing director John Laurino, “Agencies in the U.S. are invited to apply if they have some on-the-ground experience servicing clients in Toronto and have some financial-services experience.”
Laurino said interested shops should contact him as soon as possible, preferably by the end of this week. He expects to narrow the search to a short list by the end of February and to make a decision by the end of April.
The winning agency will be charged with producing TV, print, direct-response and online advertising to launch in the fall. Laurino said he hopes to find a shop that can handle media duties as well, although “that doesn’t mean we won’t unbundle if we can’t find it.”
CIBC will likely consider U.S. shops in cities near Toronto: New York, Chicago, Detroit and Boston. Although the branding assignment will be for Canadian markets only at first, eventually it “should translate into the U.S. as well,” said Laurino. “[CIBC] sees itself as a North American organization.”
Brouillard Communications, New York, will continue to handle advertising for the bank’s operations here.
For seven years, the bulk of CIBC’s Canadian creative and media duties had been with Padulo Integrated of Toronto, which crafted the 3-year-old positioning statement, “Seeing beyond.” Padulo has been invited to defend the business, but it was unclear at press time if the shop would accept the offer.
Laurino said the bank is considering some undisclosed Canadian agencies as well.
Westport Consulting, which was retained by the bank in October, suggested extending the search to include U.S. agencies. Westport is currently working with CICB on a brand strategy to replace “Seeing beyond”; finalists in the search will be charged with “executing a
creative brief against that brand work,” Laurino said.