Confidences of a Master. Interview with Ève Mathieu, president of Fieldtrip

Interview with Ève Mathieu, President of Fieldtrip and Masterclass Master

Humanise: Hi Ève, we’re thrilled to have you with us today – especially since we know how busy you are at Fieldtrip these days!

Ève: At Fieldtrip, we’re constantly on the go. That’s why we love our work. We love being in action, no doubt about it! We’re constantly being asked to work on new mandates, and we’re always in collaboration mode with our clients. You might say we never stop!  

H: You’re a Masterclass OG, part of the mighty engine behind this big adventure that began with Bleublancrouge, and now involves the entire collective. What motivated you to launch the Masterclass? 

È: The idea originated with one of our creatives, who was inspired by his experience at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He’d taken part in the training offered by the Masters of Creativity and wanted to launch a similar program through Bleublancrouge. 

In collaboration with him, I insisted on adding Production to the mix. Production wasn’t part of the Cannes’ program, which focused mostly on advertising. My motivation was for people to learn more about Production because, until you get out of school, next to no one tells you anything about it. The idea is for students to get an immersive 360-degree agency experience, not just learn about strategy, creative and media.   

Every year, more and more university programs are becoming specialized. Even so, many students who go into a Production program end up having lots of questions about it. Masterclasses offer an amazing opportunity for us to share our passion for Production and give students an overview of how all the disciplines work together, instead of seeing them as separate silos, like they’re often taught in school.

H: It’s true that we don’t hear much about Production in school. When I was doing  my undergrad in Public Relations, I had no idea what Production was. But watching you work, I can see now how I might have been really interested in studying it back then! 

È: It’s important to learn about all disciplines. It’s never a one-human show, with one person creating all of the big campaigns. It’s always a team effort. 

We often forget that advertising is still relatively new to Quebec. The Production side of things has grown considerably as the advertising industry has evolved over the past 60 to 75 years. When advertising was first getting started, the sky was the limit! We had huge budgets, lots of time to deliver on the big idea, to dig deep and develop campaigns. Then the pace got faster, deadlines got shorter and shorter, and budgets became more restricted. And Production came in at a time when we had to tighten things up. Think of us as a guide that brings all the various elements of strategy and creation together. 

Production management is an art form in itself. It involves thinking about every last detail, from the very first note in that trusty black Moleskine to the final delivery of a full campaign. Our role is to align and deliver on everything from A to Z. It’s the art of thinking about the minutia. 

H: Masterclasses are often a rollercoaster of emotions. What do you love the most about the program?

È: First, there’s the notion of legacy. We share our passion for communication, and the expertise we’ve gathered through our years of experience.  

We’re also curious about how we can go further, do better. Every year, we try to raise the bar. It’s the challenge we give ourselves. And every year, the students are brighter and better educated, which makes it super challenging! But when we see them evolve so fast, it’s flabbergasting. If we could share the final pitch given by the students each year, which they put together in a super short amount of time, people wouldn’t believe it. It’s important for us to challenge ourselves so that the participants can push themselves too. And in the end, the best walk away with an internship. 

H : What is most inspiring for the Masters? 

È: For me, it’s taking the time to listen, to capture the spontaneity of the moment and the surprises that follow! 

Rarely do we get the time to listen to the Masters talk about their journey, provide concrete examples and share all of their experience. That’s what really excites me. Hearing all the possible (and unbelievable!) stories, the reasons why we couldn’t deliver a campaign at the last minute, the twists and turns in a video shoot, the laughs in preparation for a pitch. It’s a blast for the Masters to share all of their untold stories, and it’s reassuring (or at least I think it is) to hear that it’s rarely ever perfect. I find it so much more inspiring to listen to stories than to be told what to do or what not to do. That’s the formula we use in the Masterclass program.  

Even though some of us work together every day, the presentations allow me to catch a glimpse of my colleagues’ personalities, things I’d never noticed before. I love to learn about how people think and work at Humanise. Our humans are truly remarkable. The Masterclass program proves it every year. 

H: And what do you think differentiates our Masterclass from other programs?

È: I think it’s our desire to push the limits every year. We always improve our program, innovate further. We like to change our way of doing things and our approach. Each year, the recipe evolves according to needs and trends. For example, this year we’re opening our doors to Ontario universities, we’re going national. 

Without making any major shifts, we’re positioning ourselves for growth. That’s the magic of the collective. We have a pool of different and diversified clients, which allows us to offer new challenges to students. It’s a lot of work to change the formula every year, but it’s 100% worth it. 

H: We really push Masterclass students to put a pitch together in a short amount of time. It’s intense. What do you expect from the participants?

È: I hope they’ll learn to trust themselves and trust their team. There’s no secret recipe, you just have to dive in and deliver… and it doesn’t hurt to have fun when things get  intense!  

I also have another expectation, but for us: I want us to pique their curiosity. I want to spark conversations, give them tools, so they can form their own opinion of the Masterclass program when it’s over. Regardless of whether they liked it or not, or even if they only took part for the chance to win an internship, I want them to walk away with their own POV of the program and what we do. I like people who have their own sense of things, some personality. 

H: Do you have any advice to give students who are thinking about participating? 

È: Try it! The Masterclass program is a springboard to future opportunities. 

I’d also tell them to be honest: if they’re feeling the discipline they’re in and want to switch, they should speak up so that we can adjust. We’re really here for them. 

H: Thanks so much for participating and sharing your passion, Ève! The students are really lucky to have you (and we are, too!). What about your work still gets you out of bed every morning?  

È: My work gives me a natural energy. My whole life is intertwined with my work. It’s my everything: my dad was in the field, my partner works in it, too. It might not be “cool” to say something like this, but I define myself through my work. And as cliché as it sounds, my work defines me.  

I’ve made friends and found collaborators through my work. I married someone who does the same thing for a living. I’ve put my heart and soul into what I do. There’s no downside to it: my work nourishes me, it gives me personality. I’ve known since my 20s that this was my jam, and there’s no end in sight. My work feeds my soul. I love a lot of different things, and what I do allows me to do just that. 

I’d planned to study economics at Concordia but, at the last minute, I changed my mind and went to study advertising in Ottawa. That’s where I found my people. I wanted to learn about the industry, so I went to work abroad at a young age. I had a real thirst for knowledge, a passion for the work. 

All that being said, I know that it’s possible to do this job without being so fully immersed in things. There’s no single recipe for success. You don’t have to be cut from the same cloth as everyone else. You can follow your own path, be your true self, fuel your own passions. You can move from one discipline to another. The possibilities are endless. 

H: A final word? 

È: Register! Come influence your career path.