ACA vice president Paul Hetu dies at 65

The marketer and agency partner was seen as a "driving force" for the Quebec marketing industry.

The Association of Canadian Advertisers and broader advertising and marketing communities in Quebec have been mourning the passing of Paul Hétu.

Hétu, who had been the ACA’s VP in Montreal since 2003, died the afternoon of May 13 at the age of 65.

“For nearly 14 years, Paul was the driving force behind ACA’s success in the Québec market,” said Ron Lund, president and CEO of the ACA, in a statement posted to the organization’s website earlier this week. “He was well-known, liked and respected by all. Paul was a consummate team player with everyone in the Toronto office and a personal sounding board and friend to me.”

Prior to joining the ACA, Hétu had a long career that saw him work as both an agency leader and a client in Quebec’s marketing industry.

Hétu began his career in 1976 at PNMD Communication. After leaving the agency for stints at Ogilvy and Cossette, he rejoined the agency in the 80s, where he would stay for nearly 20 years, rising through the ranks to eventually become a partner and co-owner.

During his time with PNMD, Hétu managed a number of the most sought-after clients in the Quebec market, including the Quebec Dairy Farmers (a relationship that lasted until 2015), Réno-Dépôt, Petro-Canada, Loto Québec, Pharmaprix, Labatt and the Daimler Chrysler Dealer Advertising Association of Québec.

In 2001, BBDO increased its ownership stake in PNMD, renaming it BBDO Montreal. Shortly after that, Hétu left the agency to join one of his clients, Réno-Dépôt, as VP of marketing and communications. He stayed in the role until joining the ACA.

“[If I wasn't in advertising,] I would be doing whatever it takes to be in advertising,” Hétu told strategy in 2003, shortly after joining the ACA. “From the age of 16, I fell in love with advertising and spent my university years pursuing courses that would give me the necessary background to make it.”