Tourisme Montréal to Montrealers: ‘Let’s play’

Who: Tourisme Montréal, lg2 and Cossette, with Touché! for media.

What: “Jump-start summer,” a new campaign specifically aimed at Montrealers, urging them to participate in the relaunch of the city’s tourism economy—including attractions, restaurants and hotels.

When & Where: The campaign launched at the beginning of the month and will run for the next several weeks. It’s a multi-faceted campaign that includes large-format and digital out-of-home, Instagram Stories and stickers, plus ads/content partnerships with LaPresse+ and The organization has also revamped its blog with content tailored more to locals than visitors.

Why: With COVID having put a halt to most tourism, Tourisme Montréal is adopting a strategy that is being used by tourism bodies all across the country: urging locals to rediscover their city and support the local businesses that are so reliant on tourism dollars.

“We’ve never advertised or invested dollars in targeting Montrealers so that they would ‘staycation,'” says Emmanuelle Legault, vice-president, marketing and strategy, Tourisme Montréal.

In 2019, Montreal attracted 11.1 million tourists—40% of whom were international visitors—who spent $4.86 billion.

But while locals have started emerging from self-isolation, they are still being cautious with spending. “Nobody was really spending money in restaurants, shops or hotels,” she says.  

How: The centrepiece of the campaign is more than 150 stencils around the city, bearing messages like “Jump-start the romance. Our hotels are open” and “Jump-start your curiosity. Our museums are open.” An accompanying video shows teams stencilling the messages around the city, concluding with the message “Montreal is back. Let’s play.”

“The whole approach was to create a rallying cry to Montrealers to tell them ‘Why don’t you invest some of your vacation dollars in Montreal,” says Legault. “Once everyone was able to leave their homes, the notion was that now is the time to jump-start your summer and jump-start the economy.”

On three agencies working together: This is the first time that lg2 (Tourism Montreal’s brand agency), Cossette (which is responsible for CRM) and Touché Media, have collaborated on a campaign for Tourisme Montreal.

“I was proud of the work done by the three agencies,” says Legault. “They really worked together to try and find solutions to help Montreal rebuild its economy. A lot of their time was generously given as they felt they had to be part of rebuilding Montreal.

And we quote: “When there are three strong agencies and they’re working on the local market, it could have been a situation where everybody wanted to have their own piece of the cake and in this case I felt there was strong collaboration. They weren’t so much agencies as partners of Tourisme Montréal.” — Emmanuelle Legault, vice-president, marketing and strategy, Tourisme Montréal.

Chris Powell