Growing up, Félix-Antoine Belleville had three great passions. Appropriately for the now lg2 copywriter, the first was watching TV. The second? Inventing stories with his collection of toy figures. And the third - an interest which still carries over to this day - skateboarding. Seeing the hobby as an expression of pure creativity, Félix-Antoine enjoys the feeling of freedom that comes with flying across the ground: creatively unfettered and able to do whatever he wants. “Those interests have had an impact on the way I work and create today,” he says. “[Skateboarding], just like advertising, is full of failures, but the successes are hugely satisfying. As my father would say, ‘It doesn’t matter if you fall, it’s how you get back up that matters.’”
Fortunately for Félix-Antoine, it seems like his advertising career has not forced him to “get back up” too frequently. Instead, it has required him to embrace his appreciation of shenanigans. This is especially true when looking at how Félix-Antoine got started in the industry. While he admits to having always possessed a tendency for tomfoolery - describing his childhood self as “the clown,” come his years at Quebec City’s Laval University, such inclinations proved beneficial.
“I preferred to skip class and go have fun at Préambule, the university’s student-run creative agency,” he says. “Thanks to Préambule, I was able to work on real advertising mandates during my studies and gain experience, in addition to building my portfolio.”
But Félix-Antoine adds that this wasn’t the only time skipping out proved useful. “I met Luc Du Sault, (partner, vice-president and executive creative director, at lg2 Quebec City) at a portfolio party I wasn’t even supposed to attend! At the time, I was working at the Apple store in Quebec City and decided to call in sick to get out of work early so I could make it to the party. I may have played hooky, but I managed to leave the event with a guaranteed internship at lg2 that summer.”
Looking back on it, it’s evident that Félix-Antoine made the right choice that day. The internship went well, and on September 3, 2019, he found himself starting at lg2 on a full-time basis. And, in the three years since he’s started, Félix-Antoine has found the experience to be nothing short of incredible. “I pinch myself every day and tell myself that I’m in a dream. My colleagues have taught me a lot both personally and professionally, and again, I just can’t believe it’s already been three years!”
Among the lessons Félix-Antoine has learned during this time, nothing has stood out more than the importance of ‘killing your darlings’, a common phrase emphasising the importance of not getting too attached to one’s own ideas. He adds that while he understands the importance of not getting attached, it’s still tricky to actually deal with in practice. “I find it a bit hard. Maybe in another three years, it won’t bother me so much.”
The arrival of covid-19 also proved to be a key learning moment for Félix-Antoine - serving as an opportunity for self-discovery. While he generally describes himself as eager to do things and see concrete results - with an impatient and high-energy side that prevents both him and his brain from sitting still - the pandemic lockdowns showed him something new. “Those times were very rewarding for me,” he says. “As strange as it may seem, I was highly productive; the isolation allowed me to be more efficient and creative. I was able to focus fully on the creative product.”
Such passion and care is evident in all of Félix-Antoine’s work, both pre and post pandemic. With government agencies making up the majority of lg2 Quebec City’s client list, he’s found himself mostly working in the realm of social advertising - something which he finds inspiring. “My favourite aspect is having the opportunity to work on pressing issues where you can make a positive impact on society and really help people through concrete solutions to real problems. Creativity that helps, that brings about change – that’s what really gets me going.”
He still remembers his very first project, ‘Born a Girl’. Not only did he learn about what it takes to shoot an ad, and discover the importance of an agency coalescing to create a final product, but he realised just how powerful social advertising can be.
“It was a government ad to raise awareness about the reality of trans people,” Félix-Antoine says. “In a very short time, we managed to find a family willing to embark on the adventure. For ‘Born a Girl’, we redid all the birthday cards for a girl called Mila, who was born with a boy’s body. She knew nothing about it. Her father and mother immediately embraced the project of giving her all her birthday cards with the text changed to reflect her actual gender. They agreed to share this moving moment with us and the entire Quebec population. It was an incredibly powerful project, it’s going to stay with me forever.”
While Félix-Antoine believes that the lessons learned from every project leave a lasting impact on one’s career, another which really stands out was a 60-second ad on youth mental health. Made for the Young Lions competition with the help of his friend Zacharie Turgeon, the spot - ‘The Audition’ - was conceptualised, written, shot, edited and delivered within 48 hours, and most importantly, won first place. This victory allowed the pair to attend the Cannes Lions, which Félix-Antoine calls a great honour, saying it was a privilege to represent Canada and the latest generation of Quebec advertisers.
The success Félix-Antoine has achieved throughout the early years of his career, however, has not come difficulty-free. On a creative level, he recently found himself challenged when tasked with creating ‘Car Crash-Flavoured Chips’ for the Quebec automobile insurance corporation (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec).
“Because we actually needed to produce this flavour, we had to step out of our comfort zone and team up with new partners such as Foodarom,” Félix-Antoine says. “We all know how to make a video, but launching a new line of chips is a big challenge for advertisers. Again, this project is a perfect example of teamwork and love for the creative product. I couldn’t have done it without courageous clients and an independent agency that really values the product.”
Similarly challenging for a humble man like Félix-Antoine has been, as he sees it, upping his game to the same level as his colleagues. “I am surrounded by incredibly talented creatives and a motivated, dedicated and empathetic accounts team. I think I still have a long way to go before I’m as good as them.”
For this reason, Félix-Antoine often draws inspiration from other people and campaigns. In the case of the former, he admires GUT creative chairman and founder Anselmo Ramos, who he finds remarkable for his entrepreneurship and ability to rally people around products. And, for the latter, he describes himself as getting fired up from real solutions and good ideas, such as Ogilvy’s ‘Morning After Island
However, there’s also stuff which Félix-Antoine really does not find particularly inspirational. “What frustrates me the most is fake campaigns that are just about winning prizes,” he says. “We are a self-congratulatory industry. I think we could spend less time patting ourselves on the back and more time finding creative solutions to our communities’ problems.
As such, Félix-Antoine is truly thankful to be working in social advertising, where he can help create real, meaningful and lasting change. “Working for causes means having a positive impact on society by offering real solutions,” he says. “My main motivation is to help create a better, more positive world, one big idea at a time.”