Wordless copy marks ‘less is more’ M.O.

You don't see much about them in the press, but they're there. Killer combinations of raw talent, enthusiasm and, yes, even sophistication. Strategy did a cross-country poll of agency creatives and commercial production execs, asking which new teams were doing drop-dead clever work. Despite the reluctance of some agency brass to name their brightest ('they'll get stolen') and even to name the top up-and-comers elsewhere ('I'm trying to steal them'), ultimately, after much wheedling, it was a long list.
The following teams are the ones whose names cropped up the most.

You don’t see much about them in the press, but they’re there. Killer combinations of raw talent, enthusiasm and, yes, even sophistication. Strategy did a cross-country poll of agency creatives and commercial production execs, asking which new teams were doing drop-dead clever work. Despite the reluctance of some agency brass to name their brightest (‘they’ll get stolen’) and even to name the top up-and-comers elsewhere (‘I’m trying to steal them’), ultimately, after much wheedling, it was a long list.

The following teams are the ones whose names cropped up the most.

The best thing about copywriter Martin Rivard and art director Nicolas Quintal, according to their boss, Jacques Labelle, is that they pass the true test of a talented team: When they present an idea, it’s the team’s idea, and you can’t tell which one of them had it first.

‘If they push for something, it’s because the idea is good,’ continues Cossette VP, creative director Labelle. ‘Not because it will look good in their portfolio. I think it’s the key to the success of teams who want to be successful in the long term, and not just a flash in the pan.’

Both Rivard, 28, and Quintal, 33, are finding their partnership at Cossette Communication-Marketing in Montreal quite agreeable since they were thrown together four years ago. They share the philosophy that ads should be as clear and simple as possible, and each has the desire to perform for his clients.

Their work is also getting noticed outside of the agency. The duo has already won a slew of Coq d’ors for Bell Mobility and General Motors work, not to mention landing Silver and Gold World Medals for singles at the New York Festival.

The copywriter:

Martin Rivard

Portfolio: Bell, Bell Mobility, Molson Export, Bank of Montreal, General Motors, McDonald’s and La Presse.

Fave campaign (by someone else): The Budget car rental campaign by Cliff Freeman & Partners of New York – it’s irreverent, funny and even sometimes disgusting. It’s about a marketing group at Budget that wants to do more for its customers. One guy suggests aromatic candles. Then you cut to four businessmen in a Lincoln Town Car – an aromatic candle is burning and everyone is sleeping. Then you hear a crash because even the driver was sleeping. We cut back to the meeting and it’s, ‘Maybe we don’t need aromatic candles….’

Signature work: Bell Mobility – the print execution showing a portable toilet with a phone sign on it, with just the signature: Bell Mobility. In that campaign there were three ads – there was also a confessional and a photo booth.

On coming up with the ‘big idea’: We were given the mandate to say the same old thing – with a cell phone you can call from anywhere. We just worked hard to find a way to say it differently. We finally got the idea that wherever you are, with Bell Mobility, you’re in a phone booth.

On personal style: Less is more – or else I’m not happy. The first thing I ask my partner, especially for print, is: Is there any way to remove the headline?

Most revealing detail: One day I was with a group of photographers and art directors and a guy asked me what I contributed to a particular ad, since there was no copy. I said: I removed the headline. Jacques Labelle once told me that I am the copywriter who will win the most trophies with the fewest words.

The best thing about Nicolas: He’s a critical thinker.

The worst: Definitely his new haircut

On future goals: It’s not just personal for me, it’s for the industry – to encourage clients to understand that creative decisions are not motivated by our egos but by a desire to help them sell more of their products, and that by continually working on the relationship, we can produce more and more original stuff.

The best thing about the ad biz: Creating exciting work that’s far from routine. There’s no way I could work with a jacket on, or deal with too much seriousness during the day.

The worst thing: Research. When you pay someone $50 to get his opinion you can be sure he won’t act like he’s home watching TV. Do you think it’s friendly enough? That’s not a question you ask yourself when you’re watching TV at home. In real life, the consumer doesn’t check off little boxes.

The art director:

Nicolas Quintal

Fave campaign (by someone else): Fallon, New York did a great campaign for Fox Network last year. In one spot, they took the U.S. national anthem and replaced all the words. It’s not just funny, it’s brilliant and it won at Cannes.

Signature work: Bell Mobility. We did a print campaign for them to sell the services of cellular phones. That was fun because it was a brand print – no price. The trigger was: No matter where you are, you can call. That doesn’t sound very original, but nobody says it anymore. We won in Montreal and at the New York Festivals with that – a simple idea.

On personal style: I don’t want a style. I want to do clean imagery for great ideas but I don’t want people to look at an ad and say, that’s Nicolas.

The best thing about Martin: His stubbornness, because he is always willing to debate with anyone about a big idea – the boss, the client, his own partner

The worst: His stubbornness, because sometimes things don’t work the way you want and you have to let go

On future goals: I would like to create a campaign that reaches people outside of Quebec or even outside of the Canadian market.

The best thing about the ad biz: Working with my feet up on the desk

The worst: I’m scared of finding out that my next big idea is already printed in this month’s archives.

On Martin and Nicolas:

‘They don’t think clients are stupid. I have a good relationship with them, not like some other creatives. They’re very open and honest and they’re very good when presenting creative.’

- Marc-André Côté,

associate director,

communication marketing,

Bell Canada