Quebec success

Toronto-based marketers The Weather Network (MétéoMédia in Quebec) and Dairy Farmers of Canada may come from opposite ends of the

Toronto-based marketers The Weather Network (MétéoMédia in Quebec) and Dairy Farmers of Canada may come from opposite ends of the

category spectrum, but through some carefully considered strategy, the former is positioning itself to take a run at success in Quebec and the latter is continuing what is now 11 years of the same.

TWN previously did separate work for Quebec. Now it’s streamlining and Toronto-based Rick Ridgway, SVP, television, readily admits that

figuring out what to spend given costs versus objectives has been ‘tremendously challenging.’

‘We haven’t had the luxury of being able to say arbitrarily: ‘We’ll spend 10% of revenue on marketing.’ What we’ve tried to do is build on the marketing dollar pool, but it’s quite

conservative growth each year.’

Enter Bos to the rescue. Two years ago, TWN chose Bos for its experience in marketing product in both Quebec and English Canada and in both languages. Bos took the

consolidation one step further. It brought the heretofore

separate marketing teams at TWN together to work jointly on a common strategy.

This hasn’t meant the creative is the same, but that they share a common ‘creative platform.’ Toronto-based Claude Carrier, partner, Bos, gives an example: because of differences in how media operates between French and English Canada, efficiency is best achieved by using TV as the core medium in English Canada, but radio in Quebec.

‘It’s not a translation, it’s the same platform,’ he says. ‘The scripts are different and use elements of music that are proper to francophone culture.’

Ridgway says that, while results for the first Bos campaign are not yet complete, average-minute audience ratings held steady. He

considers that a victory because TWN was facing increased competition from a new TQS morning show and from the TVA French-language

network LCN. Last year the advertising strategy for the English-language network was to use U.S. avails on cable and direct-to-home. However, TV spots for auto-promotion were also created to air on TWN’s own network and through any contra deals done with other TV in Quebec. The result was advertising that was done ‘very affordably,’ says Ridgway.

Pointing out that TWN is now developing more synergy and thus saving a lot of money on creative, he expects a campaign breaking this fall to do even better in Quebec. ‘Because the creative message in TV for the English network is going to translate very effectively into [Quebec] radio, we’re going to have strong success next year.’

This is almost old hat for the Dairy Farmers of Canada, which already had a hit campaign from 1993 to 1998 featuring popular French singers. Still, last year it was decided that the organization wanted to increase milk consumption among its 18-to-49 demo. The Dairy Farmers elected to go with one national campaign using identical creative. So was born the tagline ‘Un verre de lait c’est bien, mais deux c’est mieux’ (‘A glass of milk is good, but two is better.’)

Nicole Dubé, director of

marketing, says BBDO Montreal hit upon a strategy that works for two reasons despite having to switch between English

and French.

The three-phase campaign doesn’t play to emotion as the ’90s campaign did, going for humour instead. The third phase broke on Sept. 13 and focuses on that second glass of milk. Each piece of

creative features someone using their fingers to show the universal sign of victory – which also happens to look like ‘two’ – for the second glass.

‘The English people in Quebec are very close to the French people, more so than English people from other provinces,’ Dubé asserts. ‘With all the events that we sponsor, like the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, [French culture is close] to English Quebecers.’

Second, the victory symbol is universal. ‘You don’t have to explain it. People all around the world will understand its meaning.’

While results are not yet in for the third phase of the campaign (tracking won’t begin until March), results from a survey done for the first two phases indicated that 80% of those asked were able to name the slogan. And since October 2003, Quebec has recorded the

highest increase in milk consumption at

3% monthly.

The campaign is slated to run until September 2005 with a $4 million media buy that includes TV, print, outdoor and newspaper. Creative costs were about $600,000.