Air Miles holds steady course

The Loyalty Group's contract with Canadian Airlines remains in place for the time being, despite that airline's takeover by Air Canada back in December....

The Loyalty Group’s contract with Canadian Airlines remains in place for the time being, despite that airline’s takeover by Air Canada back in December.

The takeover has had no impact on collectors’ Air Miles account balances or on consumers’ ability to collect and redeem their reward miles, says John Wright, senior vice-president for The Loyalty Group – the company that issues Air Miles.

"Negotiations are currently underway with airline representatives to continue the program now that it’s part of Air Canada, but they are at a very early stage," says Wright, adding that the exact nature of the negotiations will be kept confidential.

He adds, however, "I can say that we are confident that these discussions will result in a new partnership that will benefit consumers."

Air Miles buys unsold blocks of seats from Canadian to offer collectors who amass enough points to redeem for a flight.

"We’ve had a relationship with Air Miles for some time," adds Renée Smith-Valade, a spokesperson for Canadian in Calgary. "The contract is still in place and the ongoing nature of our relationship (with Air Miles) with respect to our integration with Air Canada is still under consideration."

Air Miles can also be redeemed nationally on charter airline Canada 3000, and regional carrier Air Montreal, as well as on international flights with American Airlines, KLM, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines. In addition to free flights, Air Miles also offers more than 100 non-flight rewards.

Laura Cook, a spokesperson for Air Canada in Toronto, says Canadian is in the process of reviewing all commercial agreements.

"But I’m not going to speculate on what may happen," she adds.

Meanwhile, the announcement last month that Canadian is dropping out of the Oneworld alliance has no impact on The Loyalty Group.

"We are not affiliated with any of the alliances," says Wright. "Canadian and American are part of the Oneworld alliance, for example, but we also buy seats on United, which is part of the Star Alliance."

Earlier this month, members of Air Canada’s Aeroplan program and Canadian Airlines’ Canadian Plus program were granted the reciprocal right to redeem points for travel on each other’s flights as well as those of their regional carriers.

"There has been a team of people from both carriers spending many, many hours over the past two months merging the two programs," said Smith-Valade. "It’s a big milestone for us."

She adds that members can expect to find out more through newsletters, while a general ad campaign will also be rolled out "very soon." DE

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.