Something Less Touristy: CIBC Aventura & Juniper Park\TBWA

Juniper Park\TBWA
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Toronto, Canada
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Andy Linardatos
Group Creative Director Juniper Park\TBWA

Tell us about your roles in the creation of this work.

As Group Creative Director I helped lead the creative development of this specific campaign and all of its elements, and also came up with the character of the flightless penguin, Percy and his family, for the CIBC Aventura travel card brand. In this iteration of the long-running campaign, we were tasked with bringing CIBC Aventura’s free Travel Assistant service to life.


Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about?

Planning a trip is usually an enjoyable part of travelling. However, the sheer amount of research needed to plan a trip that takes you off the beaten path can be overwhelming, especially if you lead a busy life. Enter the CIBC Aventura Travel Assistant. Not only can they book flights for you, they can also offer advice and suggestions in order to curate the perfect trip for you. To bring this to life, we brought the Assistant to life in film as they led our penguin family through Morocco. With his help, they’re able to explore unique locations and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The secondary tactics like social and digital reinforced the card’s overall offerings like complimentary lounge visits, a Nexus fee rebate, and mobile device insurance.



Tell us about the creative brief, what did it ask? 

Essentially, the brief asked us to build on the success of the 2018 repositioning of CIBC Aventura as The Traveller’s Travel Card and promote one of its most differentiating card benefits: the complimentary CIBC Aventura Travel Assistant. While other cards had versions of Travel Assistants, Aventura offered the service to every level of cardholder.


Which insight led to the creation of this piece of work? 

A commonly held perception is that tourists care more about showing off the places they visit to others rather than actually experiencing them. On the flip side, those who believe themselves to be “travellers” want to blaze new trails and experience a much deeper connection with a destination. What differentiates a tourist from a traveller is not the destination, but their attitude towards that same experience. We wanted to capture that feeling and showcase how the CIBC Aventura Travel Assistant can help you make it a reality, quickly and easily.


Can you share with us any alternative ideas (if any) for this campaign? Why was this idea chosen?

The way you interact with a Travel Assistant is always over the phone. In last year’s campaign, we had a phone call between Percy and the Assistant play as the soundtrack to the spot as images of the family enjoying the very same trip they are planning, played. This year, we wanted to put a face to the Assistant and make the service feel more real and tangible. Having them actually act a “magical” guide on their trip felt like a nice evolution.


How did the client initially react to this idea?

The client quickly saw the benefits of having their Travel Assistant take a more prominent role in planning the trip, as well as displaying their vast knowledge of various destinations.


What was the greatest challenge that you and your team faced during development?

The amount of hours spent driving from location to location! From Marrakesh to Ait Benhaddou to the Sahara Desert, we travelled all across Morocco. Our biggest concern was how well the animatronic penguin puppets would take to these rugged landscapes. Luckily, our partners at Legacy Effects created puppets that could easily handle the sand and heat of the desert, and nail their lines on every take!


What did you enjoy most about seeing this campaign through? Did you learn anything new from the experience?

We were pleasantly surprised at how natural it was to see the penguins interacting with a real person, which we hadn’t done to this degree in the past. In a strange way, it made them more human. Suddenly, you forgot about their “otherness” and they just became “people.” They still can’t hold a mug, however.


Where do you see this campaign going in the future?

The Traveller’s Travel Card platform can go anywhere, literally! The penguins as a stand-in for the consumer who feels grounded by their travel card, with their restrictions and systems that make collecting points almost worthless, will always ring true.


If you could go anywhere right now, where would you go? Why and have you been there before?

Personally, I would love to explore as much of Japan as possible. I might be speaking out of terms as I’ve never been there, but I have this feeling that it would be so culturally different from what I’m used to. I think I would truly feel like a foreigner there, like visiting another world entirely. And seeing how they’re such well-seasoned travelers, I’d even take the penguins with me.