Summer is finally here, and a wind of freedom is blowing across the province. After two years of pandemic life, this summer promises to be jam-packed for Quebecers who are thirsting for culture, fun, travel and parties. The season officially kicks off with Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Québec’s national holiday, which will be bigger than ever this year. This is followed by an abundance of festivals all across the province. To help you understand the influence of summer on Quebecers’ behaviours and entice you to come celebrate with us, we’ve put together a short cultural list, based on what floats our boat. In terms of advertising, communications and human interest, here’s what’s worth noting (in our humble opinion).
This year, on top of looking forward to all the other summer events that’ve started up again, Quebecers are eagerly awaiting the chance to celebrate their national holiday in style. After a two-year hiatus, the traditional Saint-Jean shows are back and, in Québec, we love coming together to share our joy and exuberance. And if we can sing along to classic Québécois songs on top of it all, even better! So, on June 23 and 24, all across the province, folks of all ages will be able to gather around bonfires, performances and fleur de lys flags to share their love for our beautiful province.
While Quebecers carry their language and culture close to their hearts year-round, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day is the high point, the event that inspires everyone to come together. Québec’s language and artists take the spotlight and, given how much we love our local artists, it’s guaranteed to be one heck of a party! And whether in parks or in front of the live TV broadcast, everyone is likely to stay up late. Although the larger shows take place mainly in Montréal and Québec City, more than 624 municipalities organize official festivities—not to mention the countless parties that take place in neighbourhoods, back alleys and parks all across the province. This corner of the country will be overflowing with pride!
Saint-Jean is also the time of year when buying local is very popular, and Québec products are all the rage—especially at the dining table. After all, nothing says “celebration” like eating well! From poutine to microbrews, seasonal strawberries to local cheeses and ice cream flavours, Quebecers will have plenty to feast on. It’s a great opportunity for local brands to proudly display their colours and flavours if they want to be part of it all. Happy Saint-Jean!
Remember curtain calls? You know, the good old days, seemingly so long ago, when you could attend cultural events without restrictions and shout “encore” to keep the fun going? Whether it’s the Montréal Grand Prix or festivals like Osheaga, the Festival d’été de Québec, the Festival Western de Saint-Tite or Just for Laughs (to name just a few major cultural events), it goes without saying that the tourism and entertainment industry are intent on reminding Quebecers that our culture is alive and well. After two years of pandemic life, Quebecers are understandably thirsting for festivities. The proof: as soon as they went on sale, most of the tickets for these major events were quickly snatched up. If you don’t have your tickets or nearby accommodation booked yet, good luck...
And the craze isn’t just limited to the big tourist cities or the most popular annual events. Other regions are experiencing the same phenomenon. The La Noce festival in Saguenay, the Festif de Baie-Saint-Paul and the Festival de la chanson de Tadoussac are happy to report that their ticket offices are running at full steam. Of course, the lifting of health measures, including the end to restrictions on international flights, is also helping to revive the industry this summer. Flights and cruises are expected to bring more tourists to la belle province, which expects an increase of about 70% over last year, according to Tourisme Montréal. As stated in Tourisme Montréal’s summer slogan, the festival industry is determined to give visitors “endless moments.”
Plus, “endless moments” also means endless opportunities for advertisers to be part of the local culture. The buzz and scale of these cultural gatherings offer great visibility for brands, which can reach consumers through different means like sponsorships and activations. The return of festivals gives advertisers the chance to participate in creating beautiful memories for Quebecers and visitors.
After two long and difficult years in the world of entertainment, Montréal (and Québec as a whole!) is picking up where things left off and rekindling the lively atmosphere that gives the city its charm.
Luckily for those who may have gotten out of the habit of going out, Cult Mtl is back again this year with its Best of our beautiful city. The 56-page PDF includes multiple categories and is so much more than just a list of businesses or a simple tourist guide. The result of a readers’ poll, this exhaustive compilation is totally representative of what makes Montréal truly one of a kind.
In addition to revealing the city’s hidden gems, the guide provides a good overview of Montrealers’ tastes, emerging consumer trends, and social and cultural movements that are gaining momentum. This is invaluable data for brands that want to get to know their target audience.
Check out one of these spots on your next visit to Montréal or the Shop!
The Shop had the great pleasure of working on the Je Tim en bleu campaign once again this year. A quintessentially Canadian brand, Tim Hortons has also been part of the Québec landscape for 45 years. To show its attachment to la belle province, Tims has joined Quebecers in celebrating Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, their national holiday, for the past four years by temporarily ditching the brand’s Canadian red and proudly donning Québec blue and the fleur de lys.
On top of adapting its iconic colour, Tims wanted to show its deep love for Québec, its culture, its language and its uniqueness. So, the brand teamed up with Roxane Bruneau to go out and talk to people about what makes us so proud to be Quebecers. Tims also took the opportunity to release a honey cruller, or rather a “roue de tracteur,” in Saint-Jean colours—a great way to show that the brand is so integrated into our cultural landscape that its products have a different name in Québec.
Given the brand’s desire to speak directly to Quebecers, especially on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, which is a very important holiday in Québec culture, the collaboration with Roxane simply made sense. An up-and-coming artist with fans of all ages, Roxane perfectly represents the brand’s values of being authentic and in touch with people. Plus, Roxane is a real Tims fan who has repeatedly shared her love for the brand on social media.
The result: a touching, funny and honest campaign that celebrates our culture, language and pride—further proof that combining the right celebrity with the right brand to deliver an impactful message can go a long way in Québec. And at the Shop, we take pride in doing it.
For the brand’s second collaboration with Justin Bieber, Tim Hortons launched a funny campaign that showcases the singer’s love of Tims Cold Brew. Since he worked closely with Tims to develop a quality product that meets his standards, Justin was the perfect spokesperson for this campaign.
But how do you create a spot as impactful as the original when the main talent doesn’t speak our beautiful language? At the Shop, this is the kind of challenge we thrive on. In collaboration with our partners at GUT, our team created the spot by keeping in mind the original strategy, the concept and, of course, the spokesperson. The script was built around Justin, who was all-in even though he doesn’t speak French. It’s a winning strategy when you consider how much Quebecers appreciate it when an Anglophone is willing to try to speak French for them. Opposite Justin, the character of the Tims employee allowed us to communicate all of the product’s key messages while showcasing our national treasure. The end result? An endearing ad in which Justin remains the hero and makes you want to try his new Biebs Brew French Vanilla Cold Brew (we’re already addicted!).
This is exactly the kind of original transcreation that lights the fire in our bellies at the Shop—it challenges us to find the best possible solution for adapting our partners’ creative and reaching our target audience in Québec.