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.

RBC, TD and Lululemon among most valuable brands

Once again, the financial institutions and apparel brand landed in Kantar's top 10 lists for their sectors.

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In the recently released 2022 edition of the Kantar BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands survey, several Canadian companies landed in the top rankings, namely in the financial institutions and apparel categories.

Two Canadian brands made an appearance in the survey’s global banks rankings: RBC holds second position (57th overall), while TD ranks eighth (72nd overall), with brand values worth US$39.5 billion (up 43% from last year) and US$29.7 billion (up 47%), respectively. TD was among the fastest risers in the overall Top 100 survey, climbing 18 positions.

Lululemon takes fourth place as the most valuable apparel brand, behind Nike, Zara and Adidas. The Canadian athletic-wear company is valued at US$20.4 billion.

“Our 2022 rankings demonstrate both the resilience of our Canadian banking brands and their ability to create brand value by connecting with consumers to outperform other brands on the world stage,” said Scott Megginson, president of Kantar Canada in a release. “They are leaders among brands in the global financial services sector and the number one position is coming within reach for RBC.

“It is also encouraging to see how Lululemon has continued to build brand value as people return to work,” adds Megginson. “Its reputation for innovation, quality and reliability allows them to command a premium in the market.”

Overall, Apple has landed in the #1 position and is projected to become the first trillion-dollar brand. It’s brand value sits at US$947.1 billion, and is commended in the survey for its ongoing diversification strategy across its hardware, software and services portfolio. Apple moved up from second position in 2021.

Google has taken the second top spot, up one from the previous year, increasing its brand value by 79% to US$819.6 billion. In third place, Amazon dropped down two spots from last year’s #1 position, and this year its brand value equates to US$705.6 billion.

In 2022, more than three quarters of brand value originated from U.S. companies, with media and entertainment, business solutions and technology providers and retail categories contributing to over half the total value of the Top 100.

According to Kantar, sector leaders emerged from a variety of industries, with technology and luxury brands growing the fastest – 46% for consumer technology and 45% for luxury. Automotive growth grew by 34%, and banks by 30%, compared to other sectors such as apparel at 20% and personal care by 17%.

Combined, the value of the world’s Top 100 most valuable brands has increased by 23% to US$8.7 trillion in the last year. Set for release in October 2022, Kantar will rank Canada’s top 40 most valuable brands, along with reports and insights for its market.

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