Tourisme Montreal goes for the young at heart

The new "Never Grow Up" platform has set its sights on showing the city's personality to tourists around the globe.

Tourisme Montréal’s new communications platform “Never Grow Up” aims to highlight the youthful spirit of Quebec’s largest and – perhaps – liveliest city.

Created with Montreal-based creative agency Lg2, the platform’s launch video features a young woman wearing wings attached to a giant, luminous balloon soaring above sites such as Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica, Place des Festivals and a monument of the late Leonard Cohen.

François Poulin, director of communications and interactive media at Tourisme Montréal tells strategy that the platform – named for the creativity and “peacefulness of the destination” that brings the child out of those who visit – aims to keep momentum going from Montreal’s 375th birthday, which was heavily promoted by the city and coincided with Canada’s highly publicized 150th last year.

Poulin says that planning its strategy was a no-brainer that year. For example, in the city’s “Sorry” campaign, Tourisme Montréal apologized to it’s neighbours in Toronto for the ruckus the city planned to make while celebrating.

“How can we capitalize on the fact that Montreal was on the radar in 2017 because we had this birthday, but also emphasise that there’s new things in Montreal – that there’s a lot of creativity popping up everywhere,” he recalls questioning.

In addition, he says the city drew on consumer insight that showed that tourists were drawn to Montreal for its business, creative and cultural offerings.

The target demographic differs between Canada and the U.S., with research showing that the city is already quite popular among Ontario millennials, but those who haven’t visited the city since they were kids might need a refresher about reasons to visit. Meanwhile, the U.S. target is a broader and slightly older 25-54.

“That’s why ‘Never Grow Up’ is a way to talk to different target groups,” Poulin says. “It has a promise of being young that can reach the young and the older in the same way.”

Campaign elements include social, video and OOH, as well as two activations: the creation of Montreal inspired street art at Toronto’s Harbourfront and the piers of New York, and a dozen LED bikes being ridden through Toronto and New York that have been programmed to display the “Never Grow Up” message as well as animations inspired by the food, murals and music of Montreal. Through investments with Destination Canada, the video is also being shown on a smaller scale in the China market.

The campaign “I’ve Changed” ran in the Quebec market earlier this year and spoke specifically to people within the province. Marilou Aubin, creative director at Lg2, says that in developing “Never Grow Up,” the agency took a step back and looked at the city from a global perspective.

“What defines us? What makes Montreal different? Not in terms of tourism but in terms of the city – what makes its people different? What makes it great?”

Aubin says the campaign also aims to convey the personality of the city more than activities to do in the city, while simultaneously contemporizing it for visitors who may not have visited in a while.