CIBC introduces new brand and advertising around ‘Ambitions made real’

Who: CIBC with Juniper Park\TBWA for brand advertising, Lippincott for logo/brand design, Performance Art (CRM), Fuse Create (experiential) and Mediacom (media).

What: A new brand identity, including logo and brand colour, along with an ad campaign to introduce the branding and tagline: “Ambitions made real.”

When & Where: The new branding was introduced Wednesday (Sept. 22), and will start to go into market Sept. 23— including in the ad campaign running across TV, out-of-home, print, and digital (including video, social and display).

Why: The look and advertising are shaped by the bank’s brand purpose of helping its customers achieve their ambitions, said senior vice-president of brand and marketing, Tammy Sadinsky, who joined the bank earlier this year. “This is more than a logo change for us,” said Sadinsky. “This is about who we are as a brand; this is about our purpose and reclaiming that purpose. This is about our why.”

CIBC’s chief executive Victor Dodig also told The Globe and Mail that the new branding is a visual expression of underlying changes made at the bank. “One of the things that we really worked hard to do is to build a different bank,” he said. “It’s the right time to express outwardly the modern vision of what CIBC is to the marketplace.”

Timing: The brand overhaul began before the pandemic, but was put on hold because of the uncertainty caused by Covid. If anything, however, the pandemic validated the importance of doubling down on its purpose of helping people realize their own personal ambitions—even during scary and uncertain times, said Sadinsky.

“Ambitions can change,” she said. “Ambitions can be short-term, long-term, emotional, rational, big and small. It’s really important that as a brand we connect with our consumers as we try and understand where they’re trying to get to. That we recognize that ambition is not a one size fits all.”

How (the brand/logo): The word mark is a brighter red than the burgundy used in previous CIBC branding, although the bank said it will continue to use the burgundy. The logo includes the word mark alongside the CIBC’s “symbol of purpose,” inspired by the 1966 logo created to mark the bank’s centenary.

Two chevrons face each other to create a diamond shape, which is also described as a “portal to your ambitions.” The left chevron is the darker burgundy, while the right chevron is the brighter red. CIBC is calling it a “symbol of purpose,” said Sadinsky. “We will really look to imbue meaning into that as part of our brand.”

What about the other red bank? Sadinsky did not say if they discussed the similarity to Scotiabank, but pointed out that CIBC does have a “dual-color palette… And the fresh new CIBC red will become a more dynamic and transformative visual cue for the brand. So we believe that the colour palette of choice is conveying the modernity and contemporary newness and freshness that we are seeking to unlock for the CIBC brand.”

Why Lippincott: Sadinsky said that decision was made prior to her arrival at CIBC earlier this year. “What I can tell you is I had experience with them, they are very experienced in the world of building beloved consumer brands and visual identity. I personally thought it was a great partner of choice.”

How (the advertising): A 60-second anchor spot opens with a young girl making a model airplane out of wood. When she steps outside with it, she sees a giant version of the new CIBC logo in a field. She runs toward it and, as she jumps through it, she’s suddenly in a real plane soaring over the fields and off toward the horizon.

“At CIBC we believe the difference between having a dream, and achieving your dream is finding someone who cares enough to help make it real,” says a voiceover. The ad ends with the new tagline and a new four-note audio mnemonic.

“It’s a very extensive campaign. We wanted to make sure that all clients, and 95% of Canadians would see the news,” said Sadinsky. “There are 1,500 advertising assets that are being pushed out right now.”

And we quote: “It’s really, really important as a brand that we go beyond the transactional and rational place that this industry can sometimes be seen to play, and connect with our clients and consumers in a more modern human and emotionally relatable way.” — Tammy Sadinsky, senior vice-president of brand and marketing, CIBC

David Brown