Just before the long weekend started, on Friday I left Calgary for Toronto. Because I would be arriving during a long weekend, I knew I would not be able to visit some agencies in the biggest city of Ontario, I decided to email a lot of people and hope for some responses. You see, normally, I would do walk-ins at these agencies and see if anyone at these places would available for me.
And I was lucky this time. I asked them if I could meet them on Friday after office hours or on Monday morning. One creative from BBDO want to meet me on Friday but only within the office hours. It wasn’t possible because my plane arrived late in Toronto. Still, two other great creatives were interested about my story of traveling around the world and along the way, visiting some advertising agencies.
On the Monday after an interesting weekend in Toronto and Niagara Falls, I first went to Publicis Toronto. At first, I was a little bit lost, but soon I found the reception. My first impression of this place was how busy it was but I didn’t know why. Yet, I really liked the ‘creative buzz’ that I sensed. I’m talking about the energy of creating something all together.
I had an appointment with Nick Palmer, who was a warm and nice creative director at Publicis Toronto / Publicis Canada. With his enthusiasm, he took me to the bar downstairs to have coffee. We talked about advertising, I showed my portfolio, and we talk about pitches. We especially talked about pitches because in general, big agencies work a lot with pitches, but as I explained to Nick, at the last company I worked at, it does not work with any pitches and, despite that, gained a lot of major A-brands. Because my former company was smaller, the agency devoted the more energy. Doing this can result in financial losses, though. It’s good to inform people the business of advertising can be done in different ways.
Also, I noticed Nick asked what I’m going to do after my round the world trip. I of course informed that I need to find some work and O definitely want to work in Toronto. I told him that I like it here in Toronto because of the nice people and the more relaxed culture compare to that of the Americans.
Few days at work
After our coffee chat, Nick show me around in the office, his workplace and introduced me to several nice people like the women of account – one was already getting here in spite of having just had her third child – creative minds, film editors, other creative directors, etc. Publicis Toronto does a lot of in-house editing and not only the creative and the desktop publishing part. Also, I liked the movie and editing part where all of the cameras used from 70 years ago to the present were on display. I visited a lot of agencies of Publicis: Amsterdam and Hamburg. The Toronto agency is probably one of the best offices that I’ve seen so far. But the biggest Surprise was he asked me to think with the creative team about an elevator pitch. Because I’ve experience in the automotive the need some fresh pair of eyes of the automotive pitch. I told him I was available for a couple of days. So he asked me to come late in the afternoon and looked at the pitch and for tomorrow. This was the very first time I worked this kind of way. It was exhausting because we need to think in strategy, concepts and creating on the computers. I learn a lot from it.
I think because of the great experience I’ve had with Nick, he really gave me a warm welcome and made the Creative Globetrotter in me feel like I was at home.
James Walter Thompson Toronto (JWT)
The second part of the morning was spent visiting at the James Walter Thompson, or JWT for short. For those of you who have been following my posts in the Creative Globetrotter blog, you may recognize this name because I visited one of their offices a couple of months ago when I was in Auckland New Zealand. At that time, it was an agency walk-in. This time, it was an appointment made with the agency.
The JWT office is located north of downtown Toronto. Compare to the Publics, it is in a very different surrounding. While the Publics was more located in one of the old parts of the city, the JWT is in more of a glass and concrete part of the city where there were a lot of modern skyscrapers.
Not that this different locale means that JWT is less creative compare to that of the Publics. In fact, I researched on the Internet to learn what JWT has done and what they have done is awesome. For example, in an Air Canada video, all the Canadian people in London got a free ticket to fly back home to spend Christmas with their families. It was both emotional and intriguing.
At JWT, I spoke with Dan Bache, who is the senior art director. Boy was he in the midst of many different projects. While he thought he had found time to be with me on that Monday morning, he was wrong. Well, based on my experience with agencies, there is one constant about them: the pace sometimes slows down but this can change within an hour.
Fortunately, he was able to carve out time for me, which I am grateful for. It was a great privilege to have met a man who has worked for that length of time in the advertising industry in Canada and in the United States of America. During our time together, I told him about my travels and meeting up with creative people. I also showed him my portfolio. We discussed differences between bigger agencies and smaller ones.
Difference between Publicis & JWT
This topic emerged because my portfolio typifies what a smaller agency does because it shows that I have been involved in many areas, such as concept, ideas and execution as well like photoshopping, CGI, and graphic design. While JWT has more then 10 creative teams (copy – art) alone!
The second part of the talk was about job opportunities. I told him that I liked Toronto and I would like to work here if there is a chance. Dan said, “You never know how everything works out.” For example, he knows a friend who works in Tokyo and his friend asked Dan to come over. You never know what will happen with me in the coming months. Maybe not much happens or a lot of things do happen.
Despite Dan Bache was in a hurry because of his other appointments, our meeting was quick yet enjoyable.
Thank you both Nick and Dan for sharing your experiences and information about yourself, the agency, and your work. Maybe we see each other in the future.