A little je ne sais quoi

Why go all the way to Europe when you can get beautiful architecture and rich culture in Montreal?

Why go all the way to Europe when you can get beautiful architecture and rich culture in Montreal?

That’s the premise of the latest campaign from Tourisme Montréal, which started rolling out in April. It positions the city as beautiful, romantic, and an appealing blend of European and North American culture.

The campaign includes print, OOH and grassroots efforts in New York City and Boston like branded kissing booths and street teams promoting Montreal’s 1st World Outgames this summer (think gay Olympics, with crazier after-parties). Planned executions include radio spots set to run in Boston and the U.S. border market (not available at press time), as well as collateral like T-shirts and bags to be distributed to guests at Montreal hotels.

We asked Katie Ainsworth, ACD at Vancouver’s Rethink, and Dan Morales, CD at Taxi New York to weigh in on whether this campaign inspires them to jet off to Montreal.


DM: Art directionally, this campaign is beautiful and shows off Montreal in a cool and contemporary manner. My issue is the big idea and copywriting. As a New Yorker, every place on the planet is a potential vacation destination. You need to plant a simple reason in my head to visit. Frankly, I rarely think about going to Montreal but I know it sounds romantic. One of the pieces I reviewed summed up the city nicely: ‘A shot of Europe and a dash of North America.’ Again, art directionally, you’re there. Conceptually, it feels generic.

KA: It seems to be more of a design project than an advertising one. From that point of view, the strategy that Montreal is a unique blend of Europe and North America is clearly communicated. The art direction is elegant and very consistent across the whole campaign. I wish the headlines were wittier.


DM: Unfortunately, with the copy/headline being what they are, I could take away the Montreal logo and replace it with any European city. Fortunately, copy and type are the easiest things to change.

KA: The print ads look like postcards, a nice touch. And the handwritten type makes them feel warm, personal and unique – like Montreal. Again, I’m disappointed by the writing. It’s either straight ahead or it relies on puns. There’s no insight. Or anything to really engage the reader. My guess is that it works better in French.


KA: As design pieces, the T-shirts and bags look and feel like a natural part of the campaign.

DM: Communicating Montreal’s 1st World Outgames is a

no-brainer. But again, I’d push the romantic angle. Very few cities can own this selling point. You’re gorgeous like Europe, only closer. Take advantage of it. The Kissing Booth is spot on. Great idea. Now build on it. Again, art direction and design deserve kudos here.

The creds:

Client – Tourisme Montréal:

Carmen Ciotola, VP communications marketing; Emmanuelle Legault, director, communications and advertising; Nathalie Labérinto, manager, communications and advertising; Julie Tardif, manager, communications and partnerships; Annie Letendre, manager, interactive communications

Ad agency – Diesel:

François Lacoursière, strategic planner; Hélène Godin, CD; Laurence Pasteels, Isabelle D’astous, Jonathan Nicol, Catherine Laporte & Daniel Leclerc, ADs; Catherine Laporte, illustration; Karine Bibeau, graphic design; Faith Downey, Alain Forget, copywriters; Roger Proulx, photography; François-Yves Caya, Hélène Duquette, Véronique Proulx, Anne Richard and Ève Rémillard-Larose, account services 

Media agency – Cossette Media:

Isabel Gingras, VP/media group director;

Diane Cladios, media account director;

Charles Gaudreau, media planning assistant

Interactive agency – 2B:

François Poulin, partner; Dave Tremblay, media planner