Ad Week Blog: Montreal in New York, Day 1

Paul Lavoie of Taxi, François de Gaspé Beaubien of Zoom Media and Joe Casale of Casale Media talk international expansion.

This week, guest blogger Aleksandra Wnuk, freelance copywriter for, will be reporting on Montreal’s presence at Ad Week in New York.

The idea of walking into the big unknown is a scary one, but it began to sound more like a state of mind than a frightening step to take when the RDV @ New York event began this morning. The 90 participants from Montreal’s creative sphere brought with them a booming energy, making it clear that this was going to be the beginning of something grand.

A handful of influencers stood up to speak about what Quebec’s talent pool has to offer in the market, and when the words come from the likes of Joe Casale, CEO of Casale Media, Paul Lavoie, founder and president of Taxi, François de Gaspé Beaubien, chairman and CEO of Zoom Media (pictured above from left to right with Mark Sherman, president of Media Experts, who led the talk), all of whom are entrepreneurs, all of whom have seen success internationally, in the United States as well as on their Canadian home turf, you tend to listen.

A few tidbits of what they said:
Expanding into another country will only cultivate knowledge and business that you can later bring back home. Good for your business and good for your home team. Makes sense.

If what you did in Canada was a success, chances are that it will work in the U.S. But listen, tweak and bring your energy and confidence because the game is different, and playing in the major leagues means throwing your best. Every. Single. Time.
Not only are cities like Montreal exceptional talent hubs, they also have something different to offer. “You know what they love here (New York)? That sh*t,” said Paul Lavoie. So bring your different sh*t.

The risks are huge, yes, but those risks, if taken right, will bring you big fat rewards. Have enough capital to keep that growth going and again, bring your energy and bring your confidence.

What it boils down to is this: the danger doesn’t lie in expansion or growth into the U.S or the European market. The real danger lies in not doing anything at all.

According to John Parisella, Quebec’s Delegate General in New York, Quebec’s presence has been growing in the U.S. for over 60 years. The chance to be a part of the innovation is already there; the movement has already begun and now is the time to take charge and give it direction.