From Publics Toronto to Publicis Montreal
Thanks to Nick Palmer, Creative Director at Publicis Toronto I was able to get in touch with some French Canadian Creatives Directors in Montréal: Carl Robichaud and Nicolas Massey. It took some time for me to travel from Toronto up to Montréal because I first want to reach another goal: see the east coast of Canada. Soon after my return from Quebec City I emailed the two creatives if they had some time. Just a couple of hours ago I met those fantastic two French Canadian creatives. It feels so relaxing to meet those two. Relaxed doesn’t mean they’re not full of energy. On the contrary they are.
French vs. English Canadian Advertising
One of the first questions I asked about what is typically the difference between French and English Canadian advertising. Besides the language it’s also a cultural thing. In summary, Nicolas told me that Quebec is the only French-speaking province, and that it is very different from the rest with Canada. It was already occupied by the French Colonist for one century before the British came. Unfortunately the British won and it became a part of Canada. In the ’60s and ’70s Quebec’s desire to separate from Canada was really strong. Nowadays the French Canadians want hold their own identity still they feel a little bit more Canadian although it’s the 50-50 ratio. Although what I’ve experienced in Montréal and Quebec are more cosmopolitan French Canadians, and their identity is more European. Carl showed me a presentation sheet about the difference. French Canadians look more for quality time and free time is a privilege. They feel that being European, they are more down to earth. You see this also in their advertising. Including Publicis Montreal. It’s creative, subtle but impressive as well. A little more intelligent if you ask me. English Canada is more attached to the United States advertising: better, bigger, mightier if it is possible. And more what you see is what you get. What doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It is just that their advertising culture what really fit with their people.
Although it depends on the company in French Canada – overtime is not really an issue because free time makes you more creative. It gives you space to clear you mind and come up with good ideas. Sometimes you have those days you need to work long, it happens everywhere. Although Publicis Montreal and their clients can be demanding. And they ask a lot from their creatives. I was telling them about overtime at the last company I worked with a tremendous pressure. We agree you can burn out. Because you can get be stuck at some point. It’s also about the clients itself. The creatives at Publicis work 80 percent of their time for retail. And I know from my experience it’s a hard to change that sector to be creative. You’re always using the same ‘frame’ over and over again to sell something. However, it is still a challenge to create something within those borders and go to the max. But you have clients they do expect awesome things. 90% of that budget is for retail and 10% of the money is for creating something beyond imagination. And it’s a lot harder when you work at a big company because you have to work with a lot of people and have their opinion about the campaign as well a huge amount of creative input. So you need it filter that out.
Go abroad for creative recharge
What I really notice is about traveling. You get more creative by having a lot of impressions. It’s about meeting new people; think about new ideas, things you see in a different way etc. Nicolas and Carl agree with me with that. Although he’s staying in Montréal for the most part of his time – Nicolas’ girlfriend does a lot of traveling and when she returns she is full of energy and huge load of ideas. This is also one of the reasons Nicolas and Carl really want to see me. The experiences I had, what kind of advertising culture I come from but especially about my round the world trip. I’m happy to inspire those two to go more traveling for a creative recharge. Because staying in one place like a lot of Canadians do I talked with is not the way as it should be. Although if you want to work somewhere you need to settle down to know the local / countries (advertising) culture a bit. But that doesn’t mean stay at the office or home. And that’s a message i tell to a lot of people to spread wings.
However I didn’t work at this agency (and that was partly because of the language). It was great meeting them and talk about a lot of things. Again thank you Nicolas and Carl for you hospitality and inviting me at Publicis Montreal. And as I said. I’m happy to help you out when you go on a creative recharge while traveling in Europe.