Tourisme Montreal wants to jump-start what’s left of summer

The organization launches a rallying cry for locals to support the Canadian city hardest hit by COVID.


Tourisme Montréal is looking to “jump-start” its industry this summer with a campaign getting residents to spend on experiences in their home town as they come out from COVID hibernation.

The campaign spans large-format and digital OOH throughout the city, stenciled slogans painted in over 150 locations and a video inviting Montrealers to “relaunch” the summer, with messages of “relancez la romance” and “relancez l’ete” (“jump-start the romance” and “jump-start the summer”). Digital creative includes full-page screens and content partnerships in LaPresse+ and, along with videos and stories and stickers on Instagram.

“We wanted people to stop and pique people’s interest as they emerge from their homes,” says Emmanuelle Legault, VP of marketing and strategy at Tourisme Montréal, who says that OOH is a big part of the campaign because it lets partners and people in neighbourhoods see themselves and “take action on the spot” to spend money and support one another through a difficult time.

The executions are broad and speak to families, but also to couples wanting to rekindle romances and anyone who wants to be able to shop again.

The city was Canada’s epicentre for COVID-19, with approximately 28,500 confirmed cases there, compared with about 15,000 in Toronto.

Like other urbanites, Montrealers are tired of staying indoors and want to embrace city life again, Legault says. “We felt it was time to be present. And our goal was to make sure we could entice Montrealers to stay in Montréal, and they would consider a staycation and not spend dollars in other destinations.”

This is the first time the organization has gone all out and targeted locals. In 2012, Tourisme Montréal created “Montréal Moments,” getting residents to embrace what they love about their city and become ambassadors for it, but as a way to entice those living elsewhere. Now, Legault says, the organization has had to pivot its messaging in a way that will get Montrealers to think of themselves as visitors to local tourism-dependent businesses.

With so many high-profile events like the Jazz Fest and Grand Prix cancelled en masse, Legault says there was the perception that there was not much happening in the city. However, she says, this could not be further from the truth and that the organization’s goal was to show the city is coming alive. This idea is mimicked in its creative on Instagram, with pastel icons representing the Biosphere, cycling, ice cream, and scenes showcasing graffiti, street performances, public pools, parks, and local food and beach options.

The organization worked with hotels, too, not only featuring them in some of its creative, but showcasing unique staycation options through its recently transformed website. For example, Legault cites the Bonaventure Hotel’s limited-time “dive-in movie,” deals in which the hotel has special offers for a night’s stay, plus within-pool and poolside cinema screenings.

In the past, was geared to visitors not overly familiar with the city, but with the ecosystem reboot, it now has new offers, packages and a passport geared specifically to locals for savings to top tourist attractions, with the admonition to  “Make Montréal your playground.”

Lg2 led creative elements on the campaign, Touché! handled the media and Cossette created the digital platform.