2017 Strategy Awards: Montréal’s ironic apology

Montréal apologizes to its neighbours for the racket caused by its 375th birthday celebrations.

Sorry Image 2

Bronze: Canada 150 Strategy

With Montréal celebrating its 375th anniversary in 2017, it’s an extra-special time to visit.

Garnering attention in cities like Toronto, New York City, Boston and Vermont was a challenge. The U.S. election frenzy was at its peak, as was the Christmas shopping season, while Canada’s 150th birthday was also stepping into the spotlight.

Tourisme Montréal and Lg2 created the “Sorry” campaign to get Ontario and New York markets excited about its 375th birthday.

Americans love to tease Canadians’ over-politeness. The team decided to capitalize on this insight and, as respectful neighbours, have Montréalers celebrate the city’s 375th birthday in classic Canadian fashion: by apologizing for all the noise they would make in 2017.

The “Sorry” campaign first hit the Toronto market with wild postings, radio placements, domination of the Metro newspaper door hangers and aerial advertising.

An online video also featured Montréal ambassadors going door-to-door in Toronto, apologizing in advance to their neighbours for the city’s loud birthday festivities. The ambassadors distributed earmuffs and earplugs, inviting Torontonians to join the party, with some given complimentary Air Canada flights to Montréal.

The campaign then moved to New York where famous Montréal native William Shatner apologized for the hubbub and invited the city’s southern neighbours to join the celebrations.

In Toronto, Montréal received 50% more organic PR visibility versus the previous year. Engagement with video content was also two times the industry benchmark. Specifically in New York, 27% exposed to the online video watched it until the end versus a completion rate benchmark of 15%.

Brand | Tourisme Montréal
Agency | Lg2
Strategic planning and user experience | Alexis Robin, François Royer Mireault, Geneviève Monette