Felix Lundqvist: From Young Ones Fame to Thriving in Advertising

By Alixandra Rutnik on May 11, 2023

"With hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck, anything is possible. So go out there and chase your dreams!"

Creative Week 2023 starts up right after this weekend, and we couldn’t be more excited to see all of you at our upcoming events. Young Ones is on Monday evening to kick off the award shows, with Portfolio Reviews on Tuesday, ADC 102nd Annual Awards on Wednesday night, an East Village Lettering Walk on Thursday, and The One Show on Friday to conclude the week and bring us into the weekend. And Morning Buzz will be taped live in our studio every morning at 10am, so don’t forget to tune in online!

Speaking of Young Ones, Felix Lundqvist is a 2020 Young Ones Gold Pencil winner, and Swedish Art Director at Critical Mass in LA. Since winning in 2020, he has had a lot of success working with big clients like Smartwater and stars like Pete Davidson. Felix is a big Young Ones supporter and exudes positivity.

We talked to Felix to hear more about his experience entering and winning Young Ones. And if you’re not already a winner this year, maybe Felix’s story will inspire you to enter into Young Ones 2024, because it’s never too early to plan ahead.

What motivated you to enter Young Ones?

I’ve always been a competitive person, and when I first heard about the Young Ones competition during my first day of Ad School at Berghs in Stockholm, I knew I had to give it a shot. The idea of going head-to-head with some of the industry’s best creatives excited me and pushed me to sign up.

As an art director, I believe the Young Ones competition provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase one’s talents, gain exposure, and connect with other like-minded professionals in the industry. For me, the motivation to enter the competition came from a deep desire to challenge myself creatively and discover new ideas and techniques.

"The motivation to enter the competition came from a deep desire to challenge myself creatively and discover new ideas and techniques."

Winning the Gold Pencil was not only just a moment of pride and joy, but also it gave me a sense of validation that my work had been taken seriously among so many other talented individuals. It opened doors for me, enabling me to work on exciting campaigns and projects across broadcast, activations, and digital media.

Overall, I believe participating in Young Ones can be a valuable experience for any aspiring art director who wants to showcase their work and make a name for themselves in the industry. So if you’re thinking of entering next year, I would highly encourage you to take that leap of faith and see where it takes you. You never know, it could be the start of a fantastic journey that will shape your career and your life.

What did you enjoy about working on the Young Ones North Face brief?

Exploring the great outdoors has always been a passion of mine, so when I learned about The North FaceNever Stop Exploring” campaign, I knew I had to participate in the Young Ones North Face brief. Creating “The Everyday Explorer” campaign was a dream come true. Collaborating closely with my team, we brainstormed ways to promote exploration in everyday life. It was a challenge to create a campaign that could resonate with people who may be intimidated by associating exploration with the extreme, such as free soloing El Capitan or summiting Mount Everest. We wanted to remind people that exploration can start right at their doorstep and it is never too late to start exploring, regardless of age or gender. It can start by taking a different route to work or trying a new coffee shop.

The highlight of the campaign was our collaboration with Google Maps to create a unique and interactive experience. “The Everyday Explorer” served as a reminder to ourselves and others of the importance of excitement in our everyday lives. The competition was intense, and going head-to-head with top-tier global creatives was a thrilling experience that pushed our work to the limit.

"“The Everyday Explorer” served as a reminder to ourselves and others of the importance of excitement in our everyday lives."

How do you remember feeling when you (virtually) walked across the Young Ones stage to accept your Gold Pencil?

Despite not being able to attend the ceremony in person thanks to the unfortunate circumstances of the COVID pandemic, the news of my win was an unforgettable moment. The thrill of learning about my achievement through the flood of congratulatory messages from my friends was electric. I was filled with disbelief and excitement as I saw my name among the list of Gold Pencil winners.

I celebrated the moment with my friends and people I’ve worked with, who supported me throughout the journey. As calls and messages poured in from colleagues, collaborators, friends, and family, I felt truly grateful for the support and recognition of my work. I relished the moment of happiness and success by cooking a delicious dinner in quarantine with my roommates.

Why do you think it is important for students to participate in everything Young Ones has to offer?

Participating in Young Ones initiatives has been a game-changer for me. It’s provided me with opportunities to grow as a creative that I never could have imagined in a classroom setting. Through these programs, I’ve discovered my passions and honed my skills, all while working alongside some of the most talented and inspiring people I’ve ever met.

If there’s one piece of advice I could offer to fellow creatives, it’s this: find a partner who will push you to be your best self. Someone who shares your vision and is willing to dive deep into the brief with you to uncover truly unique and innovative ideas. And don’t be afraid to seek out a mentor who can help you refine your work and give you honest feedback.

The creative process is never easy, but it’s always worth it. Don’t be afraid to take risks, explore new ideas, and challenge yourself to go beyond what you think is possible. And above all, never lose sight of your passion and drive to make a difference in the world through your work. With hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck, anything is possible. So go out there and chase your dreams!

How has your career excelled since winning a Young Ones Gold Pencil in 2020?

Winning the Gold Pencil was a pivotal moment in my career, providing the validation and confidence needed to pursue more prestigious projects and showcase my ability to effectively communicate complex concepts through my art direction. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work on exciting campaigns across broadcast, activations, and digital media, with a particular passion for the fast-paced and ever-evolving landscape of digital media. Collaborating with amazing clients and talented collaborators has led to some truly innovative ideas that have left a lasting impact on audiences.

What truly inspires me about my work is the power of great advertising to tell stories that resonate with people on a deeply emotional level and inspire them to take action. It’s not just about creating an ad or a campaign, but about being a part of something bigger than myself. As an art director, I am constantly seeking out new challenges and pushing myself to be better, whether it’s through collaborating with other creatives, taking on new projects, or pursuing personal passion projects. With the confidence and validation I gained from winning a Gold Pencil, I am eager to continue pursuing even more ambitious projects and continuing to make an impact in the industry.

"With the confidence and validation I gained from winning a Gold Pencil, I am eager to continue pursuing even more ambitious projects and continuing to make an impact in the industry."

How have you grown as an art director over the past few years?

In the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to take part in a variety of exciting projects spanning different mediums and channels. Professionally, I worked on my first feature film, released my first short film, and am about to release a second one. I’ve also collaborated with amazing global campaigns and launches, working with clients and agencies that I’m proud to be associated with. At Havas Atlanta, I worked on advertising for Coca-Cola, Smartwater, and Vitaminwater, with the Coca-Cola Fifa Qatar 2023 partnership being a particular highlight. Together with a global team, we conceptualized Coke’s digital presence during this event, and worked with creatives in different regions around the world, including Shanghai, Paris, and New York.

Last year, I started working with AT&T as a client at Critical Mass, surrounded by talented individuals and launching nationwide 360 campaigns. Moving forward, my goal is to continue exploring new opportunities to express my creative vision authentically. I hope to collaborate with brilliant creatives who can push me in new directions and challenge me to improve my skills as an art director.

To achieve this, I will proactively seek out new challenges and continue to develop my craft by experimenting with new mediums and technologies. Ultimately, my aim is to utilize my creativity and my experiences to make a positive impact and inspire others to do the same.

Is there one particular project you would like to highlight?

Working on the Smartwater “Unconventionally Smart” campaign with Pete Davidson at Havas was a recent project I’m proud of, and it was a lot of fun. Together, we opened up the internet to ask Pete questions about unique encounters and problems, which he responded to with unconventional and smart solutions. All thanks to Pete’s dedication to staying hydrated, which kept his mind clear and creative.

Currently, I’m working on some exciting projects on the AT&T account for Critical Mass in LA. Earlier this year, I worked on the March Madness campaign, and I’m looking forward to releasing more fun work that’s coming up soon.

In addition to my professional work, I’m deeply invested in various side projects. Whenever I have some free time, I dive into creating films and initiatives that I hope add some value to people’s lives. By pursuing these personal projects, I hope to further develop my creative voice and expand my skills beyond my professional work.

Overall, I’m thrilled about what the future holds for me. With each new experience, I gain more confidence in my ability to authentically communicate my artistic vision, move at a faster pace, and have a clearer vision for my future projects.


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