Montreal turns to locals to show off its ‘vibe’

The city's tourism board shows all the things it has to offer as it shifts back to attracting international travellers.

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Tourisme Montréal curated a mosaic of experiences captured by 100 locals showing exactly what they were doing at 5 p.m. as the city opens up more broadly to visitors. 

“Endless Moments To Share” is the end result, a campaign highlighting everything from frenetic drum circles, impromptu dance parties and whitewater rafting, among other activities.

It’s an an organizational pivot to normalcy that casts a far wider net than its previous effort, its fall  “EuRoap Trip” campaign, which was solely targeting Ontario and Northeastern U.S. audiences by highlighting the city’s European roots and similarities to popular destinations they were otherwise unable to access to during the pandemic

“Endless Moments To Share,” by contrast, is an international campaign that Tourisme Montréal says is already a success in France, where it has been running online and in theatres since mid-April. It was recently launched in the U.S. and will benefit from a strong digital presence and high-impact OOH placement, including billboards in New York’s Times Square. The campaign will launch in Ontario on May 16.

“This video of candid moments with Montrealers is like diving into joy,” says Marilou Aubin, partner, VP and ECD at Lg2. “The campaign expresses, when words fail, why we all love Montreal so much.”

Dany Pedneault, director of marketing and communications for Tourisme Montréal, says that all the outdoor activities captured in the spot are a nice way to entice visitors back after prolonged periods of lockdown. And he tells strategy that while the activities are all outdoors, it’s not aimed at a particularly “active” demographic, but rather “free spirits” and those open to authentic new experiences.

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Part of the brief, Aubin says, is to go after the “young at heart,” rather than travellers who are young in age, and to show a range of diverse activities the city has to offer.

France is a key market seeing lots of traction, but Tourisme Montréal says it’s also seeing strong signals, based on search traffic, from Mexico, an opportunity it can further tap.

“We are focusing now on the northeast,” Pedneault says, but soon, it will be tapping into interest in the west coast, and places like Austin, Texas.

When it comes to ad spend, he says it’s nearly back on track to pre-pandemic levels.

Pre-pandemic, the city attracted some 11 million visitors and this week, the Port of Montreal welcomed its first cruise ships back since 2020. Officials are also hoping for a boost from marquee events like F1 and multi-day music festival Osheaga.

COVID was a major body blow to the tourism sector nationally. According to Destination Canada data, in 2020, almost 900,000 jobs were lost at the height of the crisis, representing 43% of all tourism employment. In 2021, meanwhile, tourism employment over the first 10 months of the year remained 21% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Touché handled the media buy.