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GOING FOR GROSS RATING PURRS

Wait till Quebec legislators hear about this one. The Whiskas cat food company last week launched the Canadian rollout of what it is calling the first-ever television commercial created specifically for cats. The 30-second spot, which actually debuted two years ago in the U.K., features a variety of images and sounds that feline focus groups – yes, you read that right – indicated were popular among mousers: specifically, images of mice, fish and birds, overlaid with meowing, tweeting and squeaking sounds. The tests, conducted at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, suggest that about 60% of cats will respond to the ad, with actions ranging from ear-twitching and head-cocking to pawing and sniffing of the TV screen. A 15-second spot has also been developed to appeal directly to cat owners. No word yet on how they’ll react.

SUITS SURFING THE NET

Canadian sales professionals travelled more often for business last year than they did in 1998 and a growing percentage of them booked their trips over the Internet. These shocking revelations come from the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA), which conducts an annual survey on the business travel habits of its members. As might be expected in a buoyant economy, travel volume was up over the previous year, albeit by a relatively small percentage. Perhaps the most notable finding of the study, which was completed by 1,000 CPSA members, is that the percentage of respondents booking hotel, car and airfare reservations over the Internet quadrupled to 5.9% from only 1.3% in 1998. Of the 77.3% of respondents who use the Internet, half (49%) used the Web to browse for travel information, an increase of about 10% from the previous year. The typical CPSA business traveller is a 45-year-old male, with an average income of $82,140.

ONLINE BANKING BREEDS DISAFFECTION

Perhaps not surprising in this age of online courtship, a recent study has revealed that consumers who bank online are more likely to be playing the field. The study, conducted by St. John’s, Nfld. marketing consultancy the Bristol Group, surveyed close to 1,600 adults in Canada and the U.S. regarding their relationships with their banks. Entitled Future Imperfect: Banking on the Internet, the study concluded that while the majority of North Americans deal with one primary banking institution, their fidelity declines noticeably when they move online. For example, Americans, who give – on average – 80% of their banking business to a single financial institution, provide only 48% of their business to a primary institution once they move online. The study’s author, Dr. Jim Barnes, says, "The Internet has given power and freedom to financial services customers by broadening their choices to global proportions."

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.
TheGarden_FL

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.