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DISPATCH 09: New confinement, new habits

January 2021

With the second lockdown well underway (along with an added curfew), the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape our daily lives and alter social, political, and cultural landscapes around the world. At the shop, we’re keeping our heads high and continuing to do what we do best: understanding Québec. And being there for our partners. Once again this month, we’re back to keep you in the loop and create a snapshot of what’s happening here, based on the news stories that have piqued our interest. From advertising to communications and human-interest stories, here’s what’s worth mentioning (in our humble opinion).

Bye Bye 2020: explosive ratings!

The New Year’s Eve TV show Bye Bye is kind of like the Super Bowl for Quebecers. Each year, we impatiently look forward to the show, with its sketches and its accompanying ads. It’s an occasion for us to gather in our living rooms in the company of our favourite stars and fondly look back on the year past. This year the show reached a new high with absolutely explosive ratings—which comes as no surprise, since there was nothing else for us to do—and set a new record in Québec, with 4,662,000 viewers. The Bye Bye TV event is an unmissable ad opportunity for brands that want to reach an extremely attentive Québec audience.

Photo credit | Radio-Canada

There’s poutine and tourtière, but have you heard of tourtine?

In Québec, we love food fusion. It reflects our diversity and creativity, and of course, our feverish passion for food. We already have Italian-Canadian restaurants (found mostly in the suburbs), pizzaghetti and the cronut, and now we welcome a newcomer: tourtine. The dish was first introduced in December 2020 (in the midst of the pandemic), at Baron BBQ in Saint-Ambroise, Saguenay. As you may have guessed, tourtine is a combination of two classic staples: poutine, first created in Québec in the 1950s, and Tourtière, meat pies that date back to the time of colonization. Each region in the province already has its own twist on Tourtière; tourtine is therefore a true convergence of our traditional and our contemporary cuisine. We wonder if we’ll see soon variations crop up across the province. Long live the tourtine! (And we can’t wait to taste it.)

Photo credit | Télé-Québec

Online culture compels us to go digital

When it comes to technology and digital trends, people in Québec tend to be late-adopters. On the other hand, with our festivals, productions, and institutions, we’ve always been ahead of the curve in the spheres of art and culture. And because of the pandemic, our only means of access to much of the culture we adore is online. The result is that Québec’s usual lag in adopting tech appears to have decreased. The shift is mainly a result of teleworking, distance learning, and above all, the innovative ways that Québec artists and creators have found to reach the public at home through virtual shows and festivals, workshops, and even remote art activities. It’s proof that wherever culture is happening, Quebecers will happily show up.

Photo credit | Radio-Canada

The curfew: a drastic first in Québec

It’s been a real shock: a curfew of this kind is a first for Québec, and for Canada. Even during the October Crisis in 1970, there was no curfew (strictly speaking). While the majority of Quebecers support the measure, the logic and application of its penalties have revealed a number of inequalities, especially among homeless, disadvantaged, and marginalized populations. More broadly, Quebecers value their freedom. The measure has caused sparks to fly in public discourse, and various lawyers have questioned whether the curfew is fundamentally illegal. As for how brands are affected, the new schedule inevitably alters Quebecers’ consumption habits, both in stores and online. People are more likely to be having screen time after 8 p.m., and trips to buy products at physical establishments will be even less spontaneous than they were in the early stage of the pandemic.

Photo credit | CTV News

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