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Dear readers,
Our goal through this magazine is to share with
our clients and collaborators a peek info life in
our ateliers and, more importantly, the passion of
the artisans that work in them.
You will possibly notice that we call our magazines
“fanzines.” The word fanzine comes from
the combination of “fan” and “magazine.” A fanzine
is a DIY artisanal publication created by a
person passionate about a certain subject. Generally
published at irregular intervals, fanzines are
printed in small quantities and distributed to a
select audience. We call our magazines this since
they are done in a similar spirit of editorial freedom
and exploration. Sid Lee artisans are free to
create fanzines about their projects and interests
which are then distributed to the relevant
au diences. They are written, designed and printed
Many other Sid Lee fanzines present additional
aspects of our organization: our work, our
Sid Lee Collective incubator, the cities that we
have ateliers in (Montréal, Amsterdam, Paris and
Toronto), etc. Feel free to ask for any of them or
go online at for electronic versions and
related videos.
The Sid Lee team

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  1. 1. THE SID LEESTORYWho we are and what we do
  2. 2. Dear readers, Our goal through this magazine is to share with our clients and collaborators a peek info life in our ateliers and, more importantly, the passion of the artisans that work in them. You will possibly notice that we call our ma- gazines “fanzines.” The word fanzine comes from the combination of “fan” and “magazine.” A fan- zine is a DIY artisanal publication created by a person passionate about a certain subject. Gene- rally published at irregular intervals, fanzines are printed in small quantities and distributed to a select audience. We call our magazines this since they are done in a similar spirit of editorial free- dom and exploration. Sid Lee artisans are free to create fanzines about their projects and interests which are then distributed to the relevant audiences. They are written, designed and prin- ted internally. Many other Sid Lee fanzines present addi- tional aspects of our organization: our work, our Sid Lee Collective incubator, the cities that we have ateliers in (Montréal, Amsterdam, Paris and Toronto), etc. Feel free to ask for any of them or go online at for electronic versions and related videos. The Sid Lee teamNOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 2 - - 3 -
  3. 3. The sid leestoryWho we are and what we doSid Lee in a nutshell - 8I was there! - Jean-François Fortin - 16Here’s to us! - olivier Moreaux - 20No boundaries - Jean-François Bouchard & Bertrand cesvet - 22Skype is the limit - niels van de Walle, harM sas & lukas derksen - 26Post-it - PhiliPPe Meunier - 28Organizing chaos - ronald tanguay - 32Interviewer interviewed - laurent laPierre - 34Growing family - Martin gauthier, george giaMPuranis, Pétula Bouchard & kariM kendJouh - 36Sid Lee Architecture - Jean Pelland & Martin leBlanc -40Sid Lee in Paris - sylvain thirache -42Sid Lee in Toronto - vito Piazza -44Creative nomads - alex Pasini, Julie Provençal -46Are your palms sweaty? - François lacoursière - 50Sex will get you anywhere - Pétula Bouchard - 54Manager in for questioning - daniel Fortier - 56Lunch is served - gianMarco colannino - 60Contact - 62 NOM DE LA SECTION - 5 -
  5. 5. Sid Lee in a Nutshell basic information Year founded: Ateliers: Montréal 1993 75 Queen Street, Suite 1400Here is a basic overview of our company. please Number of professionals: 450 Montréal, Quebec H3C 2N6visit WWW.sidlee.coM for more information Ownership: Independent, privately held Phone: +1 514-282-2200 Amsterdam about our team and tHe work we do. Area of expertise: Leveraging creativity to attain commercial Gerard Doustraat 72 1072 VV Amsterdam The Netherlands objectives Phone: +31 (0) 206 623030 Websites: Paris 12, rue du Sentier 75002 Paris Contacts: France New Business: Phone: +33 (1) 44 88 83 90 Human Resources: Toronto Media Relations: 55 Mill Street Building 5, Suite 500 Toronto, Ontario M5A 3C4 Phone: +1 416-421-4200 Austin Suite D-102 3601 South Congress Austin, Texas 78704 United States Phone: +1 647-283-3357 SID LEE IN A NUTSHELL - 8 -
  6. 6. wHo we are wHat we doWe conceive and communicate brand experiences. We offer commercial creativity services. Commercial creativity is how we define our service offering, since it encompasses all forms of business-Sid Lee develops brand experiences—by creating products, services and spaces—and markets them related creative disciplines without the traditional boundaries and silo thinking between different crafts.through advertising, experiential marketing, branded content, and interactive communications. What makes us unique is the fact that we have been refining this approach for 10 years, long before it wasTo embed brands, products, spaces, and services with more meaning and more resonance, we have fashionable to do or say so. We modestly think we have gained a tremendous head start in this evolvedassembled one of the most multidisciplinary creative teams in the world under one roof. way of managing brands.Our group is led by a team of more than 25 partners. This democratized approach to management Broadly speaking, our services consist of helping clients conceive brand experiences (products, serviceshas allowed Sid Lee to recruit and retain some of the best talent in different fields. It has also bene- and spaces) and communicate them (branding, advertising, interactive and experiential marketing).fited our clients by keeping teams decisional and entrepreneurial. More specifically, our services include: Conceiving brand experienceswHat’s our reputation – Architectural and retail design – Entertainment and attraction designA few of the distinctions we’ve received – Industrial design– Canadian Agency of the Year 2009 & 2010 – Marketing Magazine Communicating brand experiences– Best International Agency in the World finalist 2009 – Ad Age – Branding – Advertising– Agency of the Year Nominee (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) – Strategy Magazine – Interactive marketing– Canadian Interactive Agency of the Year 2005 – Experiential marketing– One of the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada – National Post – Branded content– Best of Show (2001, 2004, 2006) – Canadian Digital Marketing Award– More than 300 creative awards from around the world wHere we work We work in more than 12 cities around the world. Our ateliers are based in Montréal, Amsterdam, Paris, Toronto and Austin but our clients are based all over the world. Our teams travel regularly to North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to visit clients and work with suppliers. Our head office is located in Montréal, an emerging international creative city that bridges North America and Europe with its singular mix of French-speaking culture and its multicultural fabric. NOM DE LA SECTION SID LEE IN A NUTSHELL - 10 - - 11 -
  7. 7. How we work wHo we work witH COnCEIvIngOne of the most multidisciplinary teams We work with like-minded peoplein the world. and companies.We leverage the power of multidisciplinary thin- Sid Lee enjoys long-term relationships with top-king by assembling artisans from different fields to tier clients in more than 10 cities around the extent previously unheard of. Big, small, local or international, our ideal clients Brand Experiences +Here is a sample of the talents we have working as share one commonality: forward thinking.unified teams under the leadership of generalistthinkers:– Art Directors COmmunICaTIng– Architects– Strategists– Industrial Designers– Programmers– Analysts– Illustrators– Editors Brand Experiences =– Writers– Screenwriters– Producers– Motion Designers COmmERCIaL– Information Architects– Interior Designers– Graphic Designers– Content Managers– Experiential Producers– Directors Creativity™ SID LEE IN A NUTSHELL - 12 -
  8. 8. Marketing Magazine, Keith Degrace, 2009/2010 red Bull canada’s vice-President oF Marketing Agency of the year “They’ve done some amazing creative work that they’ve been recognized for, but the most important aspect of our relationship is that we really engage them in our business. They challenge us and pro- Ad Age, vide us with different angles of thought, which is 2009 ultimately what you look for in an ideal agency par- tner, beyond just the straight creative.” Agency finalist for International Agency of the year Claude Foisy, Guy Laliberté,WHaT pEOpLE SaY videotron’s vice-President oF Brand ManageMent Founder cirque du soleil and content “Two words: they rock.” “We can talk to Sid Lee about social networks, mobile apps, creativity in our sponsorships, tradi- tional advertising, content integration – everything. Here is a sample of what our Lee Clow, It would be much more difficult to execute at the same level without this kind of model. At the end ofclients and the press say about us chairMan and gloBal director tBWa WordWide the day, we measure our success in sales. Sid Lee is not only cretive but also knows that what tey “They’re a very special kind of a new breed of ad- do is execute our brand mission and values to help vertising model. They understand the entertainment customers experience and ultimately buy our aspect of new media and are not just technologits. products. And the results are there.” They’re creative communicators, using a lot of different media to put brands out there with some very imaginative stuff. They’re really growing the right model and I admire what they’ve done so far. Michel-André St-Jean, Everything now blurs together and I think it’s the saq director oF Marketing reality of the future of our business. Anything that touches the audience is advertising. They come at “Wine is a lifestyle product so you have to be it from a very different angle than we do but I present in consumers’ lives – not only in print, but believe they’re totally on the right track in terms of online and mobile and Sid Lee was the driving force how you need to serve brands today.” behind that idea. As a marketer, you’re not looking at just what the next campaign should be, you take all the points of contact – from a print ad to point- of-purchase – into consideration. If you look at Nicole Vollebregt, the brands that do it best, like Apple for example, adidas vice-President gloBal Brand Marketing the brand integration between their retail store and sPort style online offering is the king of consistency you aim for. And Sid Lee has been very good at that for us.” “Adidas is a very diverse brand spanning hardcore performance to high-end fashion and Sid Lee has shown a willingness to embrace the brand and use it as the starting point of the creative. The work speaks more clearly now about who we are. This year we gave them Sport Performance and they were quick to prove to us that they understand how to bring that side of the brand to life as well.” NOM DE LA SECTION WHAT PEOPLE SAY - 14 - - 15 -
  9. 9. I was “We Were the underdogsthere! in the advertising World.” Jean-François Fortin is vice-President and Partner at sid lee.Tell us your story… I come from Quebec City clients, money or even experience—but you couldand moved to Montréal. I was working in the re- sense its strong potential. I immediately noticedtail field, in the operations sector, for San Fran- the huge contrast with the ad agencies I had visi-cisco Group. I was in charge of the male fashion ted in the past.department and that’s how I first met Jean-Fran- Jean-François called me back that afternoonçois Bouchard, at a Les Ailes de la Mode boutique and invited me to come by for an entire day ofin Brossard. Jean-François must have been about tests on Word, Excel and PowerPoint. He then25 or 26 years old, and he bought himself a white gave me a text on Generation X, which I had toGiorgio Armani suit for 1,500 bucks (laugh)! At summarize and then present in English andthe time, he was mostly the intellectual type, in French. Me, the guy from Quebec City… Mywith his thick glasses, and he had chosen the ty- English wasn’t that great. I invented a huge excusepical actor’s suit. I never saw him wear it again to gain an extra week and have time to learn. Iafter that! found books on the softwares I would be tested When I was looking for a new job, I contac- on. I borrowed a computer and practised everyted him and we made an appointment at his office night after work. Finally, D-Day went off withoutfor 7 a.m.! I wasn’t quite familiar with Montréal a hitch. I didn’t do my English presentationyet and I left home at 5 a.m., from Saint-Lambert, and I was chosen. Jean-François offered me aon the South Shore. I, of course, got there at 5:20 co-ordination internship, which I accepted.a.m. My girlfriend had given me notes on the gra- When I started, I was the twelfth employee.phic production chain and graphic design. I had At the time, it was more of a design studio. Wetime to go over them. I stepped into a somewhat had barely started doing any advertising. Lookingdisorderly building at the corner of Beaubien and back, I realize we were actually a branding agencyDu Parc. At the end of a dusty hallway, I pushed before the term even really existed.the door open at 6:50 a.m., falling into the sound Besides Jean-François Bouchard, I was theof jazz music, and Jean-François welcomed me only one working in the account group. Everyonesaying (imitating him), “how about an espresso?” else was a creative.I was immediately charmed. We had a very plea- Along with Philippe Meunier, we teamed upsant conversation during which print production with very complementary partners. We acted likenever even came up. experts in fields we knew absolutely nothing I had more experience working in large orga- about! Nothing was handed to us on a silver plat-nizations, but here, I felt at ease. The details spo- ter, but it enabled us to develop tools of our veryke to me: I was touched by the offices, with the own. At the time, we were the underdogs in thepool table, the baby-foot table, an open area, and advertising field. We had C-class clients and wea small espresso machine. You could already feel were attracting very courageous customers whoa certain culture, a collegiality. People spoke to were looking to stand out. For example, Sleemaneach other. It was difficult to know who did what, beer: the biggest hurdle we had overcome in Quebecsince everyone pretty much did everything. I was was that it came from Ontario. So we capitalizedreally attracted by this and especially by the on this by using the boss as the spokesperson,people who worked there. It was obvious that the even though he couldn’t speak French. And itfirm didn’t start out with much—not really any really worked! I WAS THErE! NOM DE LA SECTION - 16 - - 17 -
  10. 10. Sid Lee’s We also made quite a few mistakes! Since none of us had ever worked in a firm—not even story for ten minutes—we often reinvented the wheel or learned things the hard way… I remember that, at the very start, Jean-François thought an account manager was responsible for the firm’s accounting. Let’s just say we had a lot to learn! from 1993 to today Luckily, right after me, very competent people like Bertrand Cesvet, François Lacoursière, Martin 1993 _ Two students launch Sid Lee (called Diesel Gauthier and Daniel Fortier joined the team, back then). First client: Greek restaurant around which gave us a bit more rigour. the corner. I also remember that, 13 years ago, we had a webmaster. Honestly, besides playing video games, 1996 _ Bertrand Cesvet joins. He was one of the I don’t know what the guy did, but at the time, we first clients. already believed in it. We were the only ones to believe in the Internet. 1997 _ First large-scale campaign for Sleeman is a What started off with 12 employees has now runaway hit in Quebec. Puts Sid Lee on the evolved to 400. I went through some great and advertising map. some terrible times, namely when the interactive bubble burst and we had to let go up to fifty 1998 _ Agency ventures more aggressively into people. What stood out most in all that wasn’t a interactive marketing and merges with Stratégo, matter of money, but rather the bonds we forged. an interactive Web firm (partners are still with Fifteen years later, we’re not “tourtières” Sid Lee 10 years later). from Lac Saint-Jean anymore, but the culture has remained! At the time, I was in charge of hiring 2000 _ Interactive grows exponentially, and everyone in the account group and what was most Sid Lee wins Cirque du Soleil interactive assignment important wasn’t necessarily their skills, but rather against 5 international shops. how they fit in. We were looking for people who would match our culture. And that’s still true 2001 _ The .com collapse hurts Sid Lee badly. today: we’re driven forward by this cohesion that Partners forgo salaries to keep shop alive and decide people have with one another. It’s surely one of to put more effort into advertising. the secrets behind our culture. No one can reproduce it. Our love for the product is real and 2002 – 2006 _ Sid Lee is back with a vengeance. that’s no bull. Wins numerous advertising accounts (Loto-Québec, I changed along with Sid Lee, developed Gaz Métro, Tourisme Montréal, IGA, etc.) and other skills, a raison d’être, and a new way of awards while being a leader in interactive. acting, too. I do less advertising now. I do Web, Interactive Agency of the Year in 2005. More and experiential and event marketing… more assignments from abroad (MGM Mirage, But I’m sure that we’d still hire a Jean-François Wines of France, etc.). Staff grows from 50 to 150. Fortin with as little experience as I first had. We try to combine lots of people with atypical 2007 _ Sid Lee drops the name Diesel. Wins paths, to not cut our ties with them—on the numerous new assignments in retail design, contrary. architectural design, advertising and interactive. Looking back, I’m not really nostalgic, even Sid Lee Collective is launched as a creative incu- though the first years of my career were remarkable. bator. Wins $20M Société des Alcools du Québec At the beginning, everything had to be built from (SAQ) account. scratch. Now, we’re entering a new era, with very large clients. It’s different. It’s moving forward. 2008 _ Sid Lee wins global adidas Originals Today, I’d make the same choices again account and prepares launch of Amsterdam atelier. without a moment’s hesitation. If it were with the same people, Jean-François, Philippe, Bertrand 2009 _ Sid Lee opens a shop in Paris and is selected as and the others, I’d do it all over again without one of the top 4 international agencies (Ad Age). looking back. 2010 _ Sid Lee now launches in Toronto, inaugurating a new office in the storied Historic Distillery District.NOM DE LA SECTION I WAS THErE! - 18 - - 19 -
  11. 11. Here’s “having Fun is Part oFto us! their culture.” Olivier Moreaux is President oF soPexa north aMerica. was their creative approach. They were a bunchyou started doing Business With sid lee in 1997. can of happily crazy folks with a lot of audacity, butyou tell us What tyPe oF Mandate it Was For? _ Well, also with a realistic look into the future. They aremy first pitch with Sid Lee was in 1996, for a pro- bold visionaries. Their international success isduct called Floc de Gascogne. The project never proof of that today. Sid Lee is an incubator forsaw the light of day, but this initial contact was strategies and creativity. You walk in, then walkvery interesting. At the time, their offices were on out completely enlightened.Saint-Paul Street and when you entered the buil-ding, you really felt a shift in dynamics. The presi- is there a link BetWeen Wines oF France and the Par-dent was referred to as the chief pump attendant. ties that take Place at sid lee? _ Before working withThere was a Texaco gas pump at the reception, the them, they were already well known for their par-front of a Mercedes sticking out of the wall in the ties. I remember a memorable party they had or-conference room… It piqued people’s curiosity, ganized at Stereo. There were dancers behind aand that’s why I went back to them. The first large white veil who were playing with fire andcontract carried out was a Wines of France cam- then, all of a sudden, the veil caught on fire. I gotpaign in Ontario. We were looking for a firm with really scared and asked myself, “what kind of firma global vision of Canada and not simply focused is this?”on Quebec, and Sid Lee had anglophones working Another anecdote about an intense momentin-house. The selected campaign was very strong, with Sid Lee: we were at the kick-off partywith nothing ordinary about it and with very for Zumanity in Las Vegas, on the roof of thedeep black and white. New York-New York hotel. Around 5 a.m., Then, starting in 2000, we were looking for Bertrand Cesvet got me in a judo hold, just forworldwide solutions for Wines of France. We’re fun. I flew right over him and fell flat on my international corporation based in Paris and He laughed, saying, “I just threw a client on hiswe decided to create the interactive platform in back, I just threw a client on his back!” It’s part ofMontréal. We entered via the Web and then crea- their culture to have fun—there’s no hierarchy inted the graphic platform, the brand and the iden- that culture.tity in 23 languages. At the time, this was not a Sid Lee enables individuals to express them-traditional approach. It was already one of Sid selves. There’s a structure, but it’s not a traditio-Lee’s strengths to have well understood the “com nal one. Individuals are respected for their exper-and .com” relationship and to have integrated tise, regardless of their position. There is nothese two. notion of “top to bottom.” The communication channels are well Weren’t aFraid oF Working With PeoPle Whodidn’t have Much exPerience? _ What I saw in them NOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 20 - - 21 -
  12. 12. Jean-François Bouchard is the President oF sid lee WhileBertrand Cesvet is its chairMan, senior Partner. they ansWer No reJecting Borders BOun­ BetWeena FeW questions aBout their Journey at sid lee and Wherethe coMPany is heading. disciPlines DaRIES and PeoPle. the years. Therefore, our aim was hoW did you guys Meet? quite simple: we wanted to anticipa- J.-F.B. _ More than ten years ago, te and provoke change to be ahead I had a meeting to show our portfo- of consumers and marketers instead lio to a company located deep in of the omnipresent lagging that we the Quebec countryside. When I observed in traditional agencies. got there, I realized that another im- J.-F.B. _ This was both very wise and portant beverage company was also completely naive! With our youthful headquartered in the same remote energy, we did not realize how much area. From its parking lot, I cold-cal- of an effort we would have to make led Bertrand, who was heading mar- to deliver on such a bold ambition. keting there. To my surprise, he im- We had to take huge risks. Talking Blow up mediately agreed to meet me. When I got to his office, he was in a mee- the talk is one thing, walking the walk is a different matter entirely. borders ting with several collaborators but interrupted everything to look at B.C. _ The matter was further com- plicated by the fact that most of us our work. I thought it was a real sign had never actually set foot in an of interest on his part but I later agency! Plus, our clients were not found out that Bertrand cannot sit exactly top-tier… When I joined, still in a meeting for more than 20 Jean-François and Philippe had as- minutes. I was simply a welcome dis- sembled a motley crew of greasy Mix the traction in his usual chaotic meeting management! spoon restaurants, plumbers and the like… Needless to say, we had a lot of unmixable B.C. _ I did like your stuff, though. We ended up working together and account collection to do. J.-F.B. _ Those very humble begin- we came to realize that we had a nings were very formative. We reali- similar vision of the future. zed rapidly that it was much easier to criticize what others did than to What Was your vision at the tiMe? do better. The truth of the matter is B.C. _ We believed that agencies did that our work was not that good at not get what was coming. In the ’60s the time. Other agencies proba- and ’70s, agencies used to act as bly—and rightly so—had a good beacons to guide their clients into laugh at some of our attempts at the future. We felt that this leader- reinventing the wheel! But the un- ship advisory role had been lost over derlying thinking was sound and NO BOUNDArIES NO BOUNDArIES - 22 - - 23 -
  13. 13. slowly brewing. Through good and to put together teams of multidi- chitectural and industrial design. for example. As many as 50 projectbad times, we remained focused on sciplinary talents led by strategists When it comes to marketing pro- teams can coexist since our 120 crea-the approach we had chosen… And with a holistic vision. Most agencies ducts and services, we assemble all tive professionals (out of a staff ofwe perfected it. today say they do that because of the communication skills: adver- 250) belong to a number of different it is in vogue but they do not have tising, design, interactive, and expe- teams, depending on their skills.What Was this aPProach? those 10 years of painstaking mista- riential marketing to name but a few. This way of working has allowedJ.-F.B. _ The first thing we realized kes and continuous improvements. We define our services as com­ our clients to benefit from holisticvery early on was that consumers Some clients have said to us, “others mercial creativity. It is the best moni- thinking and to steer clear of ego-think differently than agencies and say the same thing as you do, but you ker we have found to describe what driven creative types. Jean-Françoismany marketers do, even to this day… have actually done it.” Needless to we do. Basically, our aim is to offer once said to a very talented guy, “youWhen is the last time that you, as a say, that’s music to our ears. all forms of creativity that can help are possibly one of the best players Iconsumer, said, “oh, great piece of di- corporations attain commercial ob- have seen.” The young man was ob-rect marketing” while opening an en- What is sid lee today? jectives. viously flattered by the complimentvelope on your doorstep, or “this is B.C. _ People have a hard time ca- It is a departure from the current and beaming at the thought of theclever interactive marketing” when tegorizing us. Evolved ad agency? state of affairs. Right now, when beloved awards he felt he had wonvisiting a website, or “nice direct-res- Multidisciplinary design team? In- corporations need business-related single-handedly that year. Then,ponse 30-second ad” while watching teractive Web developer? Creativity creativity, they go to separate firms Jean-François added, “the problem isTV? Consumers don’t think like that. corporation? Innovation consultants? for architecture, industrial design, you play golf and we happen to playTo them, those are all interactions It is a bit complicated to box our branding or advertising. Some of hockey here.” Eventually, he quit.with a brand. They don’t categorize company into a current field. But it those professionals are not versed inor compartmentalize like the indus- is rather simple to explain what we marketing and do not use the un- What’s next For sid lee?try does. Therefore, our core idea was do. Essentially, we do two things: we derstanding of consumers as the J.-F.B. _ The company is becomingto be customer-centric and embrace help clients conceive brand expe- starting point of the process. The more and more multicultural andwhatever means we had to in order to riences and we market them. We end result is incoherence in the we now work in more than 12 citiesconnect with consumers. strongly believe that companies brand experience. To be fair, I must around the world. We now have closeJ.-F.B. _ In 1995, we were amongst must embed their products, services admit some clients avoid such inco- to 20 languages spoken and we hirethe first to truly embrace interactive, and spaces with more potent story- herence by acting as the connecting great people from all over the globe.for example. In 2001, it almost killed telling. What we are saying, in ef- glue between the parts – but that’s a It has already started to transformus, but we refused to let go of the ex- fect, is that the product itself is part tall order and it often fails. our culture. We need the simulta-pertise even when we were bleeding of the message and that communica- neous translation services when webadly. We could have gone under but tion specialists should be instrumen- hoW do you Manage such a diverse do our agency-wide training sessions!we knew that consumers were into tal in crafting more meaningful ex- grouP oF talents? I think we haven’t even begun to feelthe Web even if clients and financial periences that consumers will want B.C. _ Our core competency is ma- the impact of what I call “interna-markets were temporarily trying to to make a part of the personal narra- naging diverse creative talents. We tionalization from within.” New ideasget out of it! Today, it represents a tive to drive word-of-mouth. In a believe creativity is a team sport and will flourish, different sensibilitiesstaggering 50% of our staff. world of diminishing mass media ef- we act accordingly. For each assign- will impact our view of the world,B.C. _ Two things have defined how ficiency, this is becoming more im- ment, a team is assembled to fit the and new ways of doing things willwe work today: a complete rejection portant than ever. The days of chur- task at hand. The team is led by a emerge. I think that’s fascinating.of the traditional silos and bounda- ning out undifferentiated products strategist and creative director who B.C. _ I think change is what’s inries between disciplines and a refu- and buying your way out of trouble act as generalists. Then, the required store for us. We have a quasi-obses-sal of the advertising-centric model. with mass media are simply gone. specialized talents are brought to- sive thirst for change. When thingsIt took us almost ten years to effecti- gheter. Therefore, a writer might be are going great for us and the sailingvely mix disciplines as varied as inte- hoW do you do that? matched with a director, a multime- becomes smooth, we try new things.ractive, architecture, industrial de- J.-F.B. _ To develop brand expe- dia artist and an architect if the assi- I hope we will challenge the statussign, advertising, design, and many riences, we leverage brand strategy, gnment involves creating branded quo for as long as we exist.more. Our strength lies in our ability experiential marketing as well as ar- interactive projections in a hotel, NO BOUNDArIES NO BOUNDArIES - 24 - - 25 -
  14. 14. SKYpE is the LImIT “sid lee Brings its oWn vision, Which is not dutch.” skyPe intervieW With niels van de Walle, harM sas and lukas derksen. niels and harM Joined the ranks at sid lee in aMsterdaM tWo years aFter their dutch colleague, lukas, BecaMe a MeMBer oF the Montréal teaM, aFter having decided to Move in Pursuit oF a Pretty queBecker. migrants and students. Over the last five years, it Why choose aMsterdaM as the First Foreign oFFice? has become home to many artists and small busi- Harm _ There are three reasons, I think. The nesses. We’re the first international agency to set first reason is that the Montréal firm wanted to up shop here, with a very different approach. The offer new opportunities for its talents, in order to spaces are very small, between 30 and 45 square keep them. We can offer them this experience meters. Our office will occupy 600 square meters, here, at the other end of the globe. At the same which is very rarely seen in this neighbourhood. time, Amsterdam has a large pool of tremendous Lukas _ In the centre are the boutique, the gal- talent, which makes creative exchanges between lery and the bistro and our offices are all around. offices possible. The second reason is that Sid Lee It’s an open space for everyone. We’ll be working already has clients in Europe, such as adidas and in front of the public, which is very unusual. We’ll Cirque du Soleil. A local presence will therefore be able to brainstorm in the gallery while visitors be very useful. The third reason is purely based read a magazine. on the meeting we had, on the feeling we shared. It has nothing to do with any development plan. dutch design is aFraid oF no one. hoW does sid lee What’s most surprising are the similarities Plan on standing out? between Quebec and Holland. We are used to Niels _ Sid Lee brings its own vision, which is dealing with very different cultures, such as not Dutch. Yes, Amsterdam is a creative hub, but between the Dutch and the Germans, or the our offer is still completely unique. It is a combi- French, all less than one hour away. But we feel nation of disciplines on a level that is not standard very close to Quebeckers. We are two emerging practice here and that’s what makes the difference. countries, we are used to travelling, to setting up shop in foreign countries. do you really Bike to Work? Lukas _ As for me, I was very happy to be able to Harm _ I have two transportation modes. The visit the family! But seriously, we had wanted to first is a small boat, which I use to get to the office work together for years. by way of the water canals and the other is my bike. What Will your oFFices look like? Niels _ As for myself, I have three ways of get- Harm _ I don’t think it’s ever been done in the ting around. The first is my bike, the second, past. It’s an office but also a boutique, a gallery when I’m late, is my race bike, and the third is a and a bistro. The district we’re located in is excep- large bike with seats for my children. tional. It’s called De Pijp (the pipe); it’s a sort of Lukas _ I must be the only Dutchman who hates Latin district in Amsterdam. It was very popular bikes. My friends mock me, but I prefer my car. 10 years ago and was mostly inhabited by im- Maybe that’s why I live in Montréal!SkYPE IS THE LIMIT SkYPE IS THE LIMIT - 26 - - 27 -
  15. 15. Post- IT Philippe Meunier is creative chieF and co-Founder oF sid lee. (Each of his answers comes with a Post-it note on which he sums up his explanation.) ded messages that are very wate-What does coMMercial creativity red-down. Competition resultsMean in your Work? _ Simple. I’ll in copycat products in the diffe-draw it for you on a Post-it in rent categories, and we lose thejust a sec. Commercial creativity DNA of a brand. Too many si-is having ideas and bringing gnals are sent. When you alignthose ideas to consumers. Until all these signals, you help consu-recently, people in our industry mers understand the foundationjust had to create ads, but now, of the brand.clients have to come to us a lot As companies become in-earlier in the process. We jump creasingly global, they get co-in the game sooner and start by pied, which makes it hard fordefining the idea behind the consumers to understand theirproduct or service. Then we de- values. A company that’s done asign the product, the packaging great job is Apple. From theirand the environment in which it brochures to their interface, theywill appear (such as the store it always use the same font. Fromwill be displayed in). Only then the design and the engineeringdo we start work on the mass to the stores and the ads, every-and interactive communications. thing revolves around the sameThe brand should always be pre- story. One of the worst examplessented consistently, using a uni- are American car companies.que approach and the same kind They put 32 models on the mar-of language every time. That ket and each has a different in-way, the different specialists tention. Consumers don’t knowworking on the project won’t who they are dealing with any-each interpret the main idea more. Their cars don’t have muchdifferently. At Sid Lee, all the personality.disciplines get involved, butthey always tell just one story. Why is MulticulturalisM iMPor- tant? _ For me, the creative groupare all Brands ready to get on is like this enormous garden.Board With you? _ They should We can plant a row of carrotsbe. Currently, the biggest pro- next to a row of potatoes next toblem is that consumers are han- a row of turnips. Carrots will POST-IT POST-IT - 28 - - 29 -
  16. 16. “ cross-Pollinatealways be carrots, but the smells Concordia. Then we combineof the different vegetables com- these folks with staff from else-bine and the soil changes. Cultu- where. We’ve had a lot of peoplere is transmitted and new fla-vours are created. The fact thatwe have people from around the come up from the United States and France, due to the fact that it is easier to get them work visas. our local sPeciesworld at Sid Lee generates a newculture. We make a point of pu- We looked at the best schools: Pasadena Art School in Los An- to create neW tyPes oF creatives.”tting these people together to geles, Creative Circus in Atlan-invent something new. Without ta, Miami Ad School, Rhode Is-this multiculturalism, we would land School of Design, Parsons,not produce the same quality Portfolio Center. And since last the problem in front of them which is laid out on a long It would be impossible. year we’ve also done some scou- and they try to solve it. The At that point, we invite the ting in Europe at École Natio- walls have charts and screens client to the atelier so they canWhy do you have such Multidisci- nale des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, with wireless access. So it’s pri- come and see what we’ve done.Plinary teaMs? _ Multidisciplina- Hyper Island School of Digital marily a physical space inspired Then, in the third phase, werity is directly linked to com­ Media in Sweden and Konst- by the greats of the Renaissance bring in the computers and domercial creativity. It allows us to fackskolan. The Internet lets who shared atelier spaces with the design. Finally, when eve-approach problems from diffe- us view creative portfolios their young apprentices. Eve- ryone agrees, we go into produc-rent angles. The typical adverti- from around the world and is a ryone participated, but the work tion. That’s how the rock is cutsing trilogy — creative director, huge help to our recruiting pro- was signed by the head of the to become a diamond.copywriter and art director — cess. We like to seek out unk- workshop. After each project,tends to always see issues from nown “species” from the U.S. or we take down the atelier and put What’s the story Behind your Post-the same angle. When you work Europe and try to cross-pollina- up another one. There’s always a it sketches? _ It’s such a small andwith an industrial designer, te them with our local “species” beginning and an end. People simple thing, and you can onlyarchitect, historian or clown, to get new types of creatives. It’s are nomadic. write one thing on it. In com-you get radically different points kind of like California wine. Our creative work has four munications, if someone is ableof view. Classical communica- They use French grapes, but phases. The first is planning. to understand an idea on ation work always produces the since their growing conditions The leader of the creative atelier, Post-it, it’s a good idea. For me,same cake. Sometimes it’s a ba- are totally different, the Ameri- the strategic planner and the ac- it helps summarize my ideas,nana cake, sometimes straw- can vintners crossed their local count director work together to whether it’s a management issueberry or maple… If we’re lucky it’s grapes with the foreign ones — delimit the territory, much like or an ideation process. Once achocolate. But it’s always a cake. like alchemists — to make an archaeologists do. If you go into year, I give everyone in theIn our case, though, someone all-new kind of wine. That’s what the atelier during that phase, creative team a Post-it with aaround the table will suddenly we’re doing here at Sid Lee. you’ll notice that the walls are drawing or a word on it. It’ssuggest making soufflé. Then covered with images of global supposed to remind them ofeveryone starts talking to each What’s an atelier? _ It’s a new developments in that category, their goals. It’s simple, it’s clear,other, saying, “it looks like a working approach for the crea- as well as what’s being done in it’s sticky… It’s perfect!cake, but it’s not a cake. It’s really tive process at Sid Lee. French other industries. For the secondgood!” This is what brands need. for “workshop,” an atelier is a step, which is creation, six mem-This approach is a big plus. And place where ideas are born. It’s bers of the creative team arethe time is right for us to do this. where we put things up, we draw, called in to pick through the we ask questions. Our atelier ground for “rocks,” which repre-Where do you recruit eMPloyees? _ space is about 60 square meters, sent ideas. During that phase,Like all good farmers, we first with a maximum of 6 people sta- we’re just down to paper andlook to see what’s growing lo- tioned there. Each individual pencils. Then we choose thecally. Montréal is chock-full of has to bring a specialty to the best “rock” and each specialisttalent. We go to the creative project. There is a centre table goes to work in their area ofschools at all the universities that the different specialists sit expertise. We push the idea andaround here: UQAM, McGill, around. Then we literally place put together a presentation, POST-IT POST-IT - 30 - - 31 -
  17. 17. Organizing “they’re over the toP. they have great ideas, CHaOS But they’re all over the Place.” Ronald Tanguay is a Jack-oF-all-trades at sid lee. with documents is lying around on the floor, we What is your exact title at sid lee? _ I’m a jack-of-all- need to know if we have the right to throw it out, trades. At one point, Jean-François Bouchard had archive it or shred it. The information cannot be given me the title of omnipotent technician, as a disseminated just anywhere. It has to be kept a bit joke. It’s a big name, but I feel more like a jack-of- of a secret. But I haven’t encountered any such in- all-trades. It’s what I do best. cidents yet. What is your role? _ I take care of the order and the We’re in a sPecial sMall rooM right noW. could you mess in the company, which is very well organized Please exPlain Where We are? _ The famous Collec- in terms of processes, but often chaotic where the tivo room. It looks like the crooked house at Bel- workspace is concerned. For example, we had set mont park, back in the day. It’s a small chaotic up a temporary room for a large international room with a door that’s too low and everything project. There were 12 employees, who must’ve the creative staff needs to create to their heart’s spoken 8 languages, all working in this room. I content. The room, which was very nice at first, have no idea how they were able to understand became an exceptional workroom, so I no longer each other! At first, everything was all neat and take care of it, housekeeping-wise, because we tidy, and then the chaos set in—holes in the walls, like its messy look. There are crooked shelves, fruit thrown all over the place, pistachio shells, walls punctured with holes, splashes of paint… It’s Smarties and orange peels on the floor. People kind of wild, but the creative staff appreciates it. were letting themselves go creatively, so I had no- thing to say, except that I had to make sure that that Means the rest oF sid lee is too neat and tidy? _ they were happy and that the work was moving No, the firm isn’t too neat and tidy. There’s always forward. But we still had to maintain some type something stirring up somewhere. The people of order, to keep them under control, or things work hard and things never stop around here. could’ve gotten even worse. They call it an atelier. I think it’s the right term for it, even if it means that I keep tidying the place up Who is Messier, the creative staFF or the consulting all the time! staFF? _ The creative staff. They’re over the top, they have good ideas, but they’re all over the i heard they Write Just aBout anyWhere… _ Yes, on place, like Marie-Élaine Benoît, the art director. the white boards, on the blackboard doors, on the In her small space, she works 7 days a week, windows… From time to time, we have to remove 12 hours a day, I think. I always see her here when what’s written on the windows, so I’m the one I come over during the evening and on weekends. who cleans them. But I always ask for permission Her desk is complete chaos, but there’s a personal before erasing anything, even if it’s been there for order to it. I’ve never touched it, even though it’s four or five months, just in case. the busiest desk in the entire company, and I’m very proud of her, because I believe it’s an organi- Who exactly is sid lee? _ A very cultivated teenager. zed mess for her. She knows her way around it. Crafty, bursting with imagination and energy. Kind of like a delinquent graffiti artist. Yeah, sid lee isn’t aFraid oF esPionage? _ If a box filled that’s about right.NOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 32 - - 33 -
  18. 18. Interviewerinterviewed Laurent Lapierre Ph.d.In 2007, Laurent Lapierre, Ph.D. and holder of made up of the combination of 15 firm partners,the Pierre-Péladeau leadership chair at HEC who shape Sid Lee into what they collectivelyMontréal, did an interview with one of Sid Lee’s want it to be. This aspect appealed to us, regar-leaders. When it saw how in-depth and accurate dless of how many potential readers the book had.the text was, the team realized that Laurent La- That said, they tell me it’s a best-seller at Sid Lee!pierre and faithful sidekick Jacqueline Cardinalwere peerless interviewers, because of their pas- What struck you? _ Sid Lee seemed to be a newsion for the ties between creativity and entre- kind of organization. The leadership it displays aspreneurship. A seed was sown. What if the duo an organization does not come from a single lea-were to explain the company’s history and thin- der who can mobilize his troops, as could be des-king to new recruits? cribed in a traditional biography, nor is it the out- come of several stakeholders working in the sameWhat is the Book Who is sid lee? _ It’s a big iconic sector in different companies. Instead, it comesbook, almost 150 pages long, that plunges the rea- from coordinating individual leaderships that areder into the Sid Lee world. It is unique because exercised on an ad hoc basis by the creators andthere is only one copy of it and it’s kept under artisans in a single firm. That’s quite rare.lock and key in a special room. The artisans whojoin Sid Lee read it over the first two days at the do you like Being intervieWed? _ Not at all. I like itfirm. It’s a bit of an initiation ritual. the other way around! a rookie iMMerses herselFWhy did you agree to Write a Book that Would only in sid lee’s culture and thinking By readinghave one coPy? _ We were particularly interested in Who is sid lee?the case of Sid Lee: it represents group leadership INTErvIEWEr INTErvIEWED INTErvIEWEr INTErvIEWED - 34 - - 35 -
  19. 19. Growing family Martin Gauthier is a vice President and senior Partner. George Giampuranis is creative director and Partner. Pétula Bouchard coo, Partner Karim Kendjouh is vice President technology and innovation and Partner. “Make it Work!” Martin, George, Pétula and Karim pose for Montréal photographer Carl Lessard to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sid Lee’s successful marriage of technology and communications.GrOWING fAMILY GrOWING fAMILY - 36 - - 37 -
  20. 20. in 1999, your coMPany, stratégo, Martin _ Every cell of the creative types, in consulting orWhich sPecialized in interactive com and .com child had to be in architecture, they alreadycoMMunications, Merged With sid put together using test tube have all the key concepts. Theylee. Was it a Marriage oF conve- technology. even challenge us. They werenience or love? George _ Yes, and then sudden- born with a video game control-Martin _ Both. We were dis- ly, out of nowhere, we end up ler in their hands. Just think, be-cussing to get together with getting natural results. You know, fore, we had to train employeesanother company that wanted some couples struggle without on PowerPoint or explain howto buy Stratégo, purely for finan- getting anywhere, then when to use a browser!cial reasons. At the time, com- they back off a bit, bang! It Karim _ Web 2.0 is essential.panies in this field were too ex- works. Now, we blend the mass Blogs, community, participa-pensive. They were overvalued, media and interactive universes tion… it’s a given.but people wanted to invest. Sid without a second thought.Lee had more appeal for us be- Martin _ It took a lot of ag- the Worst MeMory oF your Mar-cause we had been working to- gressive therapy. It took years riage?gether since 1998 — their argu- before we were able to succeed Martin _ Black Friday in 2001,ments were all about passion. in creating our first baby. Now, total “.com” crisis, we had to layBut the reality was they needed Sid Lee is one of the only organi- off about 50 people. The situa-cash. So they went to seek fun- zations in Canada – or even the tion drove us to this divorce. Weding from the Caisse de dépôt world – that has a completely didn’t want to do it. We lovedet placement du Québec. This hybrid culture: 50% of our our employees. We’d created amade a marriage of convenience people come from digital and beautiful family. Having toand love a possibility. But wi- 50% from mass media sectors. break it up was agonizing.thout the passion, we would Karim _ We really have people Karim _ A few days later,have looked elsewhere. in both fields who work natu- Martin came to see me, saying,Pétula _ Sid Lee has not made rally, in an inspiring way. The “Karim, there are no more inte-any acquisitions since then. We project leads are at ease in both ractives!” It was an incrediblerealized how lucky we were that areas: interactive and mass media. shock. Then we bounced back.the marriage works! That’s very Pétula _ Let’s just say that myunusual and very precious. Wi- the ProJects sid lee Puts out, do human resources baptism by firethout our passion and shared they reseMBle their creative dad almost burned me alive!values, I don’t think it would or technological MoM?have worked. All of Stratégo’s Martin _ If the technology is What are you Most Proud oF?leaders are still totally involved more transparent, that means Karim _ Having joined Sid Leein the Sid Lee family, in one way the creativity component in- just out of curiosity and look ator another. creases. We tell our teams, “make me now. I’ve come a long way, it work!” It’s a big challenge for us, achieved all of these “coM and .coM” Making For for programmers, for the pro- Martin _ I’m really proud ofgreat kids? duction team. our communications, with theKarim _ That was the name we George _ We always start with partners and with the employees.gave our approach: a blend of a creative idea. We never begin Just like a couple, that’s whatmass media and interactive com- with a technological concept. gets you through the roughmunications: “com and .com.” To spots.achieve this, we needed a pro- Who is the neW generation?cess, just like infertile couples Martin _ We have people whoneed regular treatments if they come here, between 19 and 21want to have kids! In the begin- years old, who’ve always livedning, it didn’t feel natural. It was with video games and compu-totally dichotomous. ters. Whether they work as GrOWING fAMILY GrOWING fAMILY - 38 - - 39 -
  21. 21. sid lee noMad Architecture: architects Jean Pelland and Martin Leblanc are associate architects at sid lee architecture. favoured an approach that brings What are your roles at sid lee together multidisciplinary pro- architecture? _ We are both as- fessionals from various fields of sociate architects in the firm— expertise. This kind of approach we kind of sit at the head of the stems from a desire to create nar- locomotive that is Sid Lee Archi- rative, rather than sculptural, ar- tecture! chitecture. What is your vision For sid lee hoW do you see architecture to- architecture? _ We’re looking day? _ Architecture has always to create an all-encompassing been held in high regard, but it is firm with Sid Lee Architecture, changing right now as it tries to and this vision depends on ideas be contemporary while maintai- and input from different disci- ning its traditional benchmark. plines that converge toward the Architecture is looking for an architectural core. We see our identity and a purpose. It is also discipline as an art form in itself, seeking humanity and real hu- but we believe architecture man contact. Our firm is looking should remain in the service of more and more to communi- people and not the other way cate—to find places and ways to around. This approach has pro- communicate—and we try to ful- pelled us to create experiences fill this through architecture. that are immersed in and around the user. We are also concerned Which Buildings in Montréal ins- with architecture as a communi- Pire you? _ Any building that cation tool, because we feel that embodies a shift or progression, in order to serve and benefit like the Orange Tulip, Habitat 67 people, we must communicate or Silo No. 5. We are much more our ideas and experiences. inspired by a building with a strong, unique identity than sim- Why did you choose to Partner ply aesthetic beauty. With sid lee? _ Because Sid Lee is a creative agency, and one of its Why do you alWays dress in strongest assets is its ability to Black? _ We’re dressed in black? communicate that creativity. Over the years, we have alwaysDID YOUNOM MULTIDISCIPLINArITY? SAY DE LA SECTION DID YOUNOM MULTIDISCIPLINArITY? SAY DE LA SECTION - 40 - - 41 -
  22. 22. sid lee a startuP Where Working in Paris: Feels good Sylvain Thirache is the director oF sid lee in Paris hoW does a “tagger” BecoMe creative director? _ By chance. I’ve always loved art. Before, I would express myself through “tags,” which are a form of graffiti. Then I discovered graphic arts. I took some classes before landing in advertising. I worked for several agencies. Each time, I was the one to up and leave. I had a thing for quitting jobs (laughs). Last year, I left DDB Paris to take a break and think about what I really wanted to do. Why did you choose sid lee? _ Because Sid Lee seemed to have its head on straight. I was sick of working at soulless agencies. I really wanted a change. Sid Lee was a revelation of sorts. I emailed Jean- François Bouchard, president of Sid Lee, to tell him I was interested in meeting him. It just felt right. What do you think sets sid lee aPart FroM other agencies in Paris? _ Eve- rything! Sid Lee is very different from other agencies because it really is a one-stop shop. A lot of agencies claim this, but few of them actually are. I can’t think of another agency that provides architecture services. Nor a research and development department like Sid Lee Collective. Plus, French agencies don’t have international clients— they work for the French division of the larger company. What’s your role in Paris? _ I do a bit of everything. I manage the office, which means I take care of the clients, administration…and plumbing! (laughs)! We’re only 10 employees who just finished setting up shop, so everyone has to pitch in. What’s your vision For sid lee Paris? _ I want to position Sid Lee as a very “human” agency. Even if we’re just a little startup where everyone works their butts off, I want the atmosphere here to be pleasant. I want to respect the fact that my employees have a life outside of the office. I want to stay true to the Sid Lee model created in Montréal.SID LEE IN PArIS SID LEE IN PArIS - 42 - - 43 -
  23. 23. sid lee à Toronto :an oFFice next doorVito Piazza is Managing director oF sid lee in toronto and PartnerWhat Was your role at sid lee BeFore Being naMed general Manager oFthe neW toronto oFFice? _ I’m a partner at Sid Lee. I’ve been with theagency for over 11 years now and have 16 years of national and inter-national experience. I manage teams for different accounts. I overseethe quality of my teams’ work and offer support, from strategyto creative.What do you think sets sid lee aPart FroM other agencies in toronto?_We chose to set up shop in the Distillery District, an iconic, non-traditional part of the city. We’re surrounded by boutiques, artisans,small restaurants, but not by other agencies. We’re inspired by rawcreativity, and it’s everywhere here (in ideas, environments,people…). It’s right on par with our philosophy and our mission as acommercial creativity firm.What is your vision For sid lee toronto? _ We’d like for our agency tobe inspired by the local culture, by the diversity here, all the whilekeeping an international and North American perspective. Thisapplies as much to the standards of our work as it does to the clients wetake on and the people we employ. We look for creatives who aresuper-passionate and talented, regardless of where they’re from. Thismulticulturalism brings a lot of interesting perspectives to the noW call toronto hoMe. any cool discoveries?_ Toronto is verymulticultural, with every culture out there represented. I have a lotof fun exploring the city. I’ve discovered Italian grocery storeswhere you can buy stuff you won’t find anywhere else. The otherday, I bought agnelli siciliani pasta, like my mother used to make.Talk about a trip back in time!do you ever go to niagara Falls? _ Not since tying the knot!
  24. 24. you sound American.” Montréal is halfway ble. I find that really positive. We’re hiring moreCreative Alex Pasini between two cultures. We’ve got European va- and more people from abroad. has Been Working at sid lee For seven years. lues and American practicality. Why do you travel so Much in the age oF the internet? _nomads What countries do you Work in? _ Germany, the U.S., The Internet allows us to establish contacts all Where are you right noW? What are you doing? _ I’m England and Holland, mainly. over and to keep in touch with our clients. But we in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, at the adidas head still need face-to-face meetings. Human contact office. It’s a small city in the middle of the What’s your Favourite hotel in london? _ Even though is always important, especially during the critical countryside. I’m here for three mandates: a it’s a bit of a cliché, I like St. Martin’s Lane, which stages of a project or on key dates. TechnologyIn the modern economy we evolve in, our teams content project, a brand follow-up and a review was designed by Starck. It’s gorgeous. has its the world to meet with clients, collabora- of their brand architecture.tors, and suppliers. We consider ourselves very What’s your Most trauMatic Business triP MoMent? _ Where do you go on vacation? do you go see yourfortunate to have such opportunities to discover Where are you FroM? What did you do BeFore Joining Getting off a plane in a wheelchair. Mother? _ No, I go to China, to Vietnam… Thesenew cultures and be exposed to so many diffe- sid lee? _ I’m from Montréal. When I did my mas- are completely different experiences. My last triprent ways of doing things. It is also a bit of a vir- ter’s at HEC, I was paired with a Belgian guy who What’s your Favourite Business triP MoMent? _ We was to Croatia.tuous circle: the more you interact with other had a lot of offers in Europe, so I sent my resume were working on a new Brazilian concept forcultures, the more you become relevant as a glo- to London. But since I was still a few months away MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, so I got to go to Rio you have enough Points For all that travel? _ Well, Ibal creative partner, and the easier it becomes to from completing my thesis, I wanted a summer de Janeiro to see, understand and explore the es- collected 120,000 points last year. That helped.hire people from all over. We now have people job first. So, I met with François Lacoursière from sence of their culture.from 20 different nationalities that speak al- Sid Lee and I started my internship.most as many languages… Meet some of our in terMs oF the MulticulturalisM at sid lee, What does“mile high” colleagues. What’s your Present role? _ I supervise the strate- it Mean? _ The senior partners at Sid Lee are very gists and I work closely with our clients. Basically, Québécois and thus Sid Lee is really a Montréal I’m here to think! company. But what I admire at this agency is its international vision. For the last 18 months, all What does a young strategist FroM Montréal have the meetings have been held in English, since to oFFer on the international scene? _ I offer what there always seems to be an American, British, people often tell me: “you look European, but Dutch, Indonesian or Chinese person at the ta- NOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 46 - - 47 -
  25. 25. whereas in New York, where we launched Win- lucky to have a microcosm of each country in Julie Provençal tuk, the public already knew who we were. Sid Montréal. Because we have open minds and a Works on the cirque du soleil Mandate. Lee is able to bring an open mind and an excellent sense of well-being, we’re comfortable no matter understanding of the Cirque brand to the table. where we are. With Montréal as our base, it’s easy We adapt each time, but not too much. We’re to get around everywhere else. Where are you right noW? _ We had a meeting in able to do so while respecting our client and their Macau, so we decided to make a short stop in new market. You have to strike the right balance. your Favourite Place in vegas? _ In the “O” theatre, Australia, because the Dralion show is opening during the show. there soon. hoW Many countries is cirque du soleil in? _ In the next few months, Cirque du Soleil will have you coMe FroM Beauce, an agricultural region in que- shows in 26 cities in North America, as well as Bec. do you Miss the FaMily FarM? _ Not really, but I Germany, England, Australia, China, Belgium, like to go back and connect with things that are Austria, Korea, Spain, Japan, Taiwan and Swit- real. I like to contemplate my father’s fields, which zerland. stretch as far as the eye can see. It really helps me in my work to know that my little village is there. hoW Many airline Points have you collected in the When I was growing up, my parents always taught last year? _ 40,000. It’s great! me to make do with whatever was available. These practical values keep me grounded. What Business triP MoMent aFFected you the Most? _ Tokyo will always be the most powerful. Cultu- do you Work For cirque du soleil only? _ Yes. Exclusi- rally, seeing the way the Japanese work to prepare vely for the last five years. for a launch — it’s so different from the way we do it. Everything needs to be documented, outlined, hoW can you ProMote a shoW in las vegas or Macau organized. It’s a huge challenge and an incredible iF you’re FroM queBec? _ Every time we launch a experience at the same time. It’s not something a new show, there are different market factors to tourist would ever see. consider, a new culture to understand and absorb. In China, Cirque du Soleil is not very well-known, hoW does Montréal Figure in all this? _ We’re reallyNOM DE LA SECTION NOM DE LA SECTION - 48 - - 49 -
  26. 26. are Your palms Sweaty ? François Lacoursière is vice-President and senior Partner at sid lee.What does a strategist do all day? _ Try to under-stand things. Things in general. Situations our clientsare in. Understanding their clientele and the rela-tionship between the two. I do a lot of listening,then I try to link the bits and pieces, it’s Pretty cereBral? _ Yes, but I also like to askpractical and concrete questions. You have to beable to think abstractly, but you also have to beable to come back down to like it When your clients get sWeaty PalMs. What’sthat all aBout? _ It’s a way of saying that we shouldalways try to do things that have never been donebefore. When you do something for the first time,you can either be comfortable, uncomfortable, orpanicking. If you’re comfortable, you’re probablynot doing something that’s really new and youwon’t have new results. The sweaty palms thing isa way of illustrating the fact that you have to dosomething different — responsibly, with calcula-ted risks.does the sWeaty PalMs aPProach scare your clients? _Not at all. It reassures them, which is a sign thatthe uncomfortable zone has wide enough mar-gins. If clients can keep one foot rooted in theircomfort zone, they won’t fall into the panic case oF Panic, What’s the Best strategy? _ The firstthing you have to do is determine why the clientis panicking. You have to “recontextualize” andtry to understand why the decisions they were ArE YOUr PALMS SWEATY? ArE YOUr PALMS SWEATY? - 50 - - 51 -