As one of the key strategists behind Cirque du Soleil’s marketing machine, Bertrand Cesvet knows a thing or two about breaking barriers and merging creative disciplines. Cesvet is chairman and senior partner at Sid Lee, a creative services company with more than 300 employees and collaborators, known as “artisans,” spread across Montreal, Amsterdam and Paris. Cesvet is the IIDEX/NeoCon Canada 2009 Business Keynote, speaking on Thursday, September 24 at 10 a.m..
In 1997, Cesvet became employee number 11 at a then-fledgling graphic design shop in Montreal, called Diesel Marketing. With his two business partners, Jean-François Bouchard and Philippe Meunier, he set out to turn it into one of the most original marketing companies in the world. According to Cesvet, their work with Cirque du Soleil was inspirational: “They became our mentors and [founder and CEO] Guy Laliberté was very inspirational for us. He stressed the importance of recruiting talented and creative people and selling a product – he was a master at that – and we started believing everything was possible for us as well.”
Today, the company is called Sid Lee (an anagram of Diesel). It is renown as a cultural and commercial incubator with expertise in advertising, graphic design, interactive communication, interior design, retail architecture, industrial design and experiential design.
Cesvet is also a co-author of the groundbreaking 2008 book, Conversational Capital: How to Create Stuff People Love to Talk About, with Tony Babinski and Eric Alper. Based in Paris, he heads Sid Lee’s two European offices but splits his professional life between North America and Europe. He holds a BA in economics and an MBA from McGill University.
In his keynote, Cesvet will demonstrate commercial creativity in action, presenting Sid Lee’s work for Adidas Originals which spans multiple consumer touch points, from store design to mass and interactive communications.