CIBC’s cure for clients’ financial anxiety: Dogs

Who: CIBC, with Courage for creative and strategy; Steam Films for production (directed by James Michael Chiang); School for editing; audio by Vapor Music, and media by MediaCom.

What: “Financial Stress Companions,” a filmed “experiment” that saw CIBC provide stressed out-clients with therapy dogs so they could feel more relaxed while talking about money. It’s the first work from Courage since winning the business in September.

When & Where: The campaign is live now, running on TV as 30- and 15-second spots, with a 60-second version running online and through social.

Why: Money remains a top source of stress for many Canadians, and that’s particularly true this time of year. CIBC says the best way to deal with the stress is to talk to an expert. “We wanted to make it easier for CIBC clients to start a conversation about their financial concerns, but not in a preachy way,” said Joel Holtby, executive creative director and co-founder of Courage, in a release.

How: The ad opens with supers, digital messages and news reports about the current scary financial environment, followed by clients talking about what is stressing them out. Which is literally where the dogs come in.

CIBC brought in actual therapy dogs to meet with some clients, capturing their reaction as they first meet their “financial stress companion.” To be clear, this was a one-time experiment captured for film to deliver a larger message about CIBC.

“We loved the unexpectedness and relatability of the idea, but also how it works at a deeper level, as a metaphor for the way talking to one of our advisors makes people feel,” said Tammy Sadinsky, senior vice-president of brand and marketing at CIBC, in the release.

The ads close with the bank’s “Ambitions made real” tagline introduced in September 2021, although the release from Courage said that while this is its first creative for the brand, it is working on “follow ups to establish and build the bank’s platform expected to launch in the coming months.”

And we quote: “It’s amazing how many bank ads don’t even use the word ‘money.’ We want to strip away all the jargon, confusion, and barriers that prevent people from talking about their money and connect with them on a human-to-human level. We think this is the perfect first piece of work to springboard that connection.” —Tammy Sadinsky, senior vice-president of brand and marketing, CIBC

David Brown