Tourisme Quebec shifts its focus

A new interactive doc takes travellers on a trip from the perspective of a blind man.

The latest campaign in Tourisme Québec’s “Quebec Original” platform shows how engaging a trip to the province can be, all by showing it through the perspective of a traveller who can’t see it for himself.

The campaign is centred on Danny Kean, a New Yorker blind since birth who is taking a trip to Quebec for the first time, accompanied by his guide Judith Baribeau. Their trip, which encompasses everything from whitewater rafting and hot air balloon rides to shopping and fine dining, was captured, documentary-style, with clips being pushed through social media and compiled into one long-form video.

The main attraction, though, is the interactive version of the documentary being hosted on the “Quebec Original” website, where each stop on the trip is seen and recounted from both Kean and Baribeau’s perspectives, giving a sense of how the same experience can be exciting for someone, with or without sight. Each stop also includes an itinerary for travellers looking to recreate some of the moments in the doc.

Lg2 developed the campaign, with Touche! on media.

Sylvain Talbot, promotional campaign co-ordinator at Tourisme Québec, says using an American as its main subject was a way to appeal to travellers coming from the U.S. – a key target for the organization right now with the exchange rate – while still communicating a message that would work in Ontario and France.

“We want to live up to the ‘Quebec Original’ name and do content marketing that would provoke an emotional response, but we also wanted to have the same message for our core markets,” Talbot says. “A lot of the time when we target France, we use a French personality and expressions to show the link between our cultures, which is an easy way to fit in that market. That was one of the hardest choices we had to make, not using that this time, but we really wanted to do one message to communicate the same thing to everybody.”

Talbot says the initial idea for the campaign was to centre it around all five senses, which he says is a natural fit for a tourism message, but Lg2 came to the idea of instead using the perspective of a blind person not only to do something bold to fit with the ‘Quebec Original’ name, but to drive home how impactful experiencing a trip to Quebec can be.

“The challenge is to constantly reinvent the way you show the same destination,” Talbot says. “If you take out the idea of having Danny, it’s a pretty classic tourism ad. You showcase all the beauty shots and things you can do, but by shifting his senses, it changes the viewer’s focus because you see the activities he is doing knowing that he is blind, so you feel a bit more of the impact the destination has on a person.”

Quebec doesn’t have the same obvious attractions as destinations like Paris, so an important element of the campaign was to show the human connection, both between Kean and Baribeau and the people they meet along the way.

“When we ask customers what their memories are of Quebec, most of the time they tell us it’s the people they met,” Talbot says. “Showcasing that people are very welcoming and friendly can be hard to communicate sometimes. If you want to showcase dog-sledding, you just show someone having fun doing it. To truly capture the way people interact, I think this video does it pretty well, seeing the smiling and the connections Danny makes along the way.”