Executives of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce would like to clear up some confusion.
The Canadian bank's investment banking division spans the globe but does business under four names. There's London-based CIBC Wood Gundy Oppenheimer, Singapore-based CIBC CEF, Toronto-based CIBC Wood Gundy, and New York-based CIBC Oppenheimer.
The bank is kicking off a North American advertising campaign today to draw attention to its global investment unit, CIBC World Markets. In the ads, the U.S. and Canadian names run in much smaller print beneath that name.
Bank executives plan to drop those eventually, once the new brand name has taken hold in customers' minds.
"Watching the markets on CNN FN, it is very confusing when you see all the names listed for the same bank in different countries," said Michael S. Rulle, chairman and chief executive of CIBC Oppenheimer. "And I know how they work. But it gives the sense of something fragmented."
One bold aspect of the bank's advertising campaign is its emphasis on television. It plans to run spots on CNN, CNN FN, and CNBC, as well as print ads in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
The campaign is slated to run through the end of September, when a second phase will begin with a wider print circulation.
The print ads feature three intrepid investment bankers riding a Humvee around Wall Street. A cadre of dark-suited men linger behind them, saying, "Who are those guys?"
"Not everyone knows who we are. And this is a tongue-in-cheek way of saying we'd like to be better known by our potential customer base," said Debra Douglass, managing director of marketing and communications.
"It's also a way of pointing up our philosophy, saying we are inventive and will go the extra mile."
Part of this philosophy is CIBC's willingness to make a private equity investment in deals in which it is a lender or underwriter, Ms. Douglass said.
The decision to run television ads for corporate finance is unusual. But Ms. Douglass said that with the acquisition of Oppenheimer, the U.S. investment bank CIBC bought last November, "we needed to tell the world what we're doing."
Alan Bergstrom, president and chief executive of Brand Consultancy, based in Atlanta, said it makes sense to consolidate the four brand names.
"That's what happens when you make a lot of acquisitions," he said. All the names paired with CIBC represent acquisitions it has made or joint ventures it has begun.
"But it's brand soup," Mr. Bergstrom said.
"It's very confusing to people. And it's also expensive to support all those brands."