The campaign objective was to raise awareness and consideration for Montréal as a short-trip destination in 2017.
The U.S. election frenzy was at its peak, the Christmas shopping season was in full swing and Canada’s 150th birthday, celebrated in Ottawa, was taking the spotlight, all challenges for Montreal. So, they set out to cut through the noise and get the Ontario and New York markets excited about Montréal’s birthday celebrations. Montréal is a vibrant city with youthful energy, nightlife, great food and culture. So, people love to visit. However, they also get teased about politeness.
The city decided that Montréal should celebrate its 375th year in classic Canadian style: by apologizing. In a friendly and cheeky tone, Tourisme Montréal said “sorry” for the noise it would make in 2017.
The sorry campaign hit Toronto in two phases.
Media was selected to create proximity and an element of surprise: Wild postings, radio placements, domination of the Metro newspaper and door hangers all supported the message “Dear neighbour, sorry.” Aerial advertising pushed the concept further. An online video featured Montréal ambassadors going door-to-door, apologizing in advance for the loud festivities of Montréal’s 375th anniversary.
They distributed earmuffs and earplugs and invited Torontonians to join the party with complimentary flights offered by Air Canada.
The campaign moved to New York City, where the Montréal-born actor, William Shatner, brought it to life. In a polite but humorous tone, Shatner apologized for the uproar and invited New Yorkers to join the celebrations. This arm of the campaign included a launch video, GIFs, thematic videos that were automatically generated according to people’s online browsing interests, and a microsite. Montréal received 50% more organic public relations visibility in Toronto vs. the previous year.
There were over ten times more Google searches linked to the destination. Tourisme Montréal expects roughly 51.4% growth in the tourist rate in 2017 versus 2016. Montreal anticipates its largest number of tourists since 1967 and the forecast for tourist spending is $250 million. The city is awaiting the results from the 375th organization.
Brand: Tourisme Montreal
VP, CD: Marc Fortin
CD: Marilou Aubin, Stuart Macmillan, Katherine Melançon
Creative Team: Marilou Aubin, Stuart Macmillan, Éric Bouchard, Katherine Melançon, Jean-François Perreault
Strategic Planning and User Experience: Alexis Robin, François Royer Mireault, Geneviève Monette
Chief of Content: Joelle Choquette
Client Services: Audrey Lefebvre, Stéphanie Pellicer, Évelyne Harnois Lebeau
Agency Producer: Mélanie Bruneau
Production: Roméo & Fils
Director: Didier Charrette
Media: Touché! – Martin Soubeyran, Sophie Labarre, Karine Hettel, Mélanie Baillargeon, Frederic Authier