What are you doing after Y&R?

After four years and countless advertising awards, AGF Management has dropped Young & Rubicam as its advertising agency of record. The move comes as AGF, Canada's ninth-largest mutual fund firm, with more than $22 billion in assets under management, looks for...

After four years and countless advertising awards, AGF Management has dropped Young & Rubicam as its advertising agency of record.

The move comes as AGF, Canada’s ninth-largest mutual fund firm, with more than $22 billion in assets under management, looks for a fresh approach, says Pat Phillips, AGF director of communications.

‘It has been a good partnership and we have been happy with the work, but we can’t rest on our laurels,’ she says.

Y&R coined AGF’s much-lauded ‘What are you doing after work?’ tagline and created ads that employed everyone from Spiderman to Santa Claus to Gumby & Pokey to illustrate the idea that ‘Eventually Everyone Retires.’ The advertising – print and television – garnered Y&R some of Canada’s most coveted advertising awards and helped AGF retain healthy sales during one of the worst downturns in the Canadian mutual fund business.

Recently, AGF hired The Sebastian Consultancy, run by Canadian ad guru Gary Prouk, to work on special projects. Neither The Sebastian Consultancy nor Y&R will be participating in the agency pitch.

Y&R president Darcia Joseph plays down speculation that the agency’s recent pitch to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce played a major role in AGF’s decision to fire the agency. Y&R eventually dropped out of the CIBC pitch for fear of endangering its work for U.S. megabank Citibank (reports in the U.S. trade media suggest Citibank has already approached a number of agencies to discuss the possible breakup of its US$500-million account, held by Y&R).

‘We knew AGF was not happy with our participation in the CIBC pitch,’ says Joseph. ‘But we have been partners for years and there comes a time when a client needs fresh eyes.’

AGF is the latest mutual fund company to break ties with a long-term agency. Trimark Investment Management recently completed a review after firing Leo Burnett earlier this year. A new agency will be named in the next two weeks, says Elizabeth Hoyle, Trimark vice-president of marketing.

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