March 11, 2020
At 19 years of age, I decided to forgo a formal education. Against the will of my parents and of my close friends, I dropped out of my Business Program at John Abbott College to pursue my digital marketing ambitions. Everyone told me that if I didn’t continue my studies and go on to obtaining a University degree I would fail in such a competitive industry.
Eight years later, at the age of 27, I know I made the right decision. But had I really? It’s hard to judge yourself without personal bias. This nomination by Infopresse in their list of 30 under 30 for young professionals in the world of media and marketing is definitely the solidifying factor in my mind that I made the right decision. It’s a third-party panel of industry professionals validating that I am on the right path.
My path was filled with doubt, failure, and much anxiety. It was far from easy, especially at the beginning, when I had nothing to show for myself except for my dreams and ambitions. People don’t care if you have great ideas. They judge you based on what you’ve done and not on what you think you will do.
Despite the long hours, hard work and risks taken over the past few years, I had my fair share of failures. And fail I did, big fails! But I also succeeded big and it was these successes and wins that gave me the confidence to work on bigger and riskier projects. Eventually, I realized that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish anything.
Along my journey, there are a couple of people who believed in me and I would like to take a moment to thank them for giving me a shot at bringing one of my many crazy ideas to life.
Scott Geiring – Chef and Co-Owner at Bistro Carambola
Scott was my first-ever client who hired me as a marketing consultant. I was 19 years old, and he did not believe in social media marketing. Scott was still advertising in the local newspaper. Together we converted his budget from print to digital and he saw his business flourish.
Olivier Primeau – President and Co-Owner of Midway Group (Beachclub)
Olivier was the first big-budget project I had the opportunity to work on. Prior to opening for his first season at Beachclub, under his new ownership, I pitched him and his family an idea…. of making Oli a public figure and the face of the business on social media using savvy social media marketing strategies and PR stunts. Today, Oli has upwards of 500 000 followers online and multiple successful entertainment projects.
Jean Castonguay – Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Cognisense inc
Jean is like my second father, I grew up with his son Jp who is still one of my best friends today. He saw all the stupid things we did as kids, knew of all my struggles, and still gave me a shot when I asked for it. After doing 3 years as director of marketing at Beachclub, I was looking for a new challenge. Jean gave me a shot at running my first-ever North-American public relations stunt. His company’s product NeuroTracker, a cognitive training software for high-performance athletes was being used by Matt Ryan during the 2017 Super Bowl. We started the campaign by producing a viral video that was posted to Facebook 2 weeks prior to the 2017 Superbowl. The video was targeted to journalists and fans of the Atlanta Falcons and generated upwards of 460 000 views, 23 000 likes, and 800 comments. The video generated earned media attention from The New-York Times, CNET, Fox News, CBS News, Daily Mail, La Presse, NBC Sports, Journal de Montréal, Salut Bonjour, and TVA Nouvelles. Jean was then invited to discuss NeuroTracker on FOX News during the SuperBowl pregame show after their journalist saw the video. This interview during the Superbowl was worth millions of dollars in media coverage.
Maxime Labrèche – Vice-President and Co-Owner of the Addison Electronique Group
With Beachclub and NeuroTracker under my belt, I was again looking for my next big project. Max approached me with the following problem: Millennials do not know of his chain of 7 electronic stores named Addison Electronique. In an effort to make his brand relevant to the next generation of customers, we developed and implemented a brand new e-commerce website platform as well as produced and distributed a branded web series entitled “La Série Addison”. The series opened at Club Soda in front of 600+ people. It was published on Facebook, and Youtube accumulating more than 600k views and 1 million minutes of watch time in the Quebec market.
Etienne Dancose – Director of business activities at Cidrerie Lacroix (Labatt / AB InBev)
Etienne saw my work and reached out to me and instantly gave me the opportunity to launch his brand new line of apple cider products in the Québec market. This was one of my biggest budget campaigns to date where I had control over every aspect of the consumer’s digital touchpoints with the brand. We produced a 360-degree digital campaign for Cidre Lacroix including photo production, film production, social media management, online ad buying, public relations, influencer campaign, and soon a new website.
Jordan Lavery – Co-Founder, Director, Editor at Independant Studios
Jordan helped me conceptualize and develop my second business and sister company to AMJ Media, Independant Studios inc. In order to bring my digital campaigns to life for my agency, I needed to be able to produce high-quality films and advertisements for my clients. That’s where Jordan came into play. He taught me the ins and outs of film production, effectively adding a new skill set to my bag of tricks. He believed in a vision I had 2 years prior and helped me bring it to life.
There are countless other people who believed in me when many others did not. Those who are not listed, you know who you are and I thank you for supporting me. Onto many more years of fun projects, success, and friendships.
Andrew JohnsonPresident and co-founder of Dreww.