New agency aims to bridge creative and Hollywood

With offices in Toronto and Amsterdam, Zerotrillion hopes to take clients global and fight the "snackable content" trend.

Former execs from Amsterdam-based creative agency Nomads have launched their own venture that aims to bridge marketing and Hollywood talent.

Alex Paquin and Adam Fierman, formerly Nomads’ CEO and creative lead, respectively, will maintain similar roles at their newly launched firm Zerotrillion (the name is a nod to its “all-or-nothing” creative approach). They are joined by Canadian-born actors Italia Ricci and Robbie Amell – longtime friends of Paquin’s – who will serve as creative and production consultants from their adoptive home of Los Angeles.

Paquin says he and Fierman left Nomads to found an agency with a philosophy – which he describes as “creative maximalism” – that they feel will better serve clients through a renewed focus on creativity. The agency has come out against the notion of “snackable content,” saying many have used it as an excuse to produce sub-par content.

“We feel there’s a huge opportunity to hook up with the entertainment industry’s top-tier writers, directors and producers to make work for brands that competes for attention in authentically interesting ways, but the first step is to recognize the problem,” Paquin explained in a press release.

Zerotrillion offers services across all disciplines, including advertising, digital, brand strategy and identity, product design, sponsorship and content and film production, according to its website. The shop started up on Jan. 1 and is currently in discussions with a number of potential clients.

Having opened with offices in Toronto and Amsterdam, and with plans underway to open another in L.A., Paquin and Fierman are serving markets with which they are already familiar. However, their goal is to ultimately serve clients worldwide, in particular businesses looking to go global, with the help of a firm that sees itself as a “global boutique agency,” Paquin says.

“It used to be that to go global you had to be a huge multinational making a huge investment. Now we see businesses along the entire spectrum of market capitalizations that have global ambitions.”

While at Nomads, Paquin and Fierman worked with clients such as Under Armour and computer manufacturing company Lenovo in markets as disparate as Singapore, Dubai and Amsterdam, routinely meeting with businesses in their respective cities. Paquin says he intends to continue operating in a similar, “borderless” manner.

Partnering with Ricci and Amell felt like the right move, he says, as both actors have demonstrated a similar business philosophy by taking a more entrepreneurial approach to their acting careers. Amell, for instance, worked with director Jeff Chan to self-fund the production of Code 8, a sci-fi action film in which he will also star, with the goal of maintaining the rights to the franchise. Ricci has appeared in many movies, but is best known for her role in the American political drama Designated Survivor.

“We want to be the agency that recognizes what type of content we need to produce for the brand in order to be able to compete” in a world where players of the video game Fortnite can earn as much as top athletes, says Paquin. “If you’re going to make a movie of a commercial, if you’re going to propagate a brand or IP, you’re going to have to do it in consideration of the way the world is changing. We don’t think a lot of people are.”

Paquin began his career in Toronto, working at OSL Marketing, Rethink and Publicis, before eventually climbing the ranks at Nomads to become CEO. Fierman started out at Young & Rubicam in Jordan, and has worked out of JWT’s Dubai office.