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08.29.23 / Chloe Landa

PR in Quebec: More than a question of language

As a member of the MSL Montreal team, I regularly work with our clients and colleagues to demystify the cultural nuances specific to the Belle Province. To develop a successful campaign, it’s essential to “speak Quebec,” which goes beyond simply mastering the language of Molière. In other words, public relations for the Quebec market must be adapted and designed FOR Quebec, and not just get passed off to an excellent translator.

The French language has its challenges and complexities. Some like to believe that an effective translation of their campaign from English to French will be enough to attract the interest and attention of the coveted Quebec market. It’s a good start, but certainly not the only factor guaranteeing success.

What this “solution” fails to take into account is that Quebec is not just a French-speaking region of the Canadian market. It is a market in its own right with its own unique and distinct culture. Brands that recognize and adapt to this reality are more successful with Quebecers because they’re able to show they truly understand them.


What makes Quebec unique

Here is one example of how we handle the uniqueness of Quebec in our campaigns. It’s well known that Quebec has its own "star system," a pool of celebrities from the world of entertainment, sport, politics and culture. These personalities are "made in Quebec" and often unknown to the rest of Canada, but they have an important influence on the local population. Working with local celebrities as part of a campaign can build brand credibility and create authentic connections with Quebec consumers to develop brand loyalty.

Pantene's Quebec campaign is a good example of effective collaboration with local personalities. For this 100% Quebec campaign, we worked with renowned personalities from several backgrounds, such as Marie-Eve Janvier, Eugénie Bouchard, Jennifer Abel and Camille Felton, to represent the brand in Quebec and convey messages and an image adapted to the needs of the market. This influencer marketing campaign was so successful that it was selected to be used in the brand's television advertising campaign.

Comedy is another example of how Quebec stands out from the rest of Canada. It goes without saying that humour is popular in Quebec. It is part of the DNA of Quebecers. A good understanding of Quebec humour and using it effectively can influence the way messages are received. In public relations, humour can be a powerful tool for capturing the public's attention, eliciting positive emotions and making a campaign more engaging with Quebec consumers.

That being said, humour, as powerful as it is, can be a slippery territory that carries its share of risks for brands. That’s why it’s important to have a clear understanding of what makes Quebecers laugh before attempting to venture into this territory.

As part of one of our latest influencer marketing campaigns for Old Spice, the legendary men's body care brand, we collaborated with Marie-Soleil Dion and Louis-Olivier Mauffette to create a cross-platform campaign using typical Quebec humour to win over the hearts of Quebecers. The campaign, which stood out for its authenticity and its ability to rally Quebecers around laughter and familiar faces, was a great success and exceeded expectations in terms of KPIs.


An agency that understands Quebec

At MSL, our team “speaks Quebec” and strives to apply a good dose of love and market knowledge to all our campaigns and strategies to promote our clients in the most relevant and authentic way possible. Our bilingual team of public relations specialists ensures that each campaign is strategically thought out for Quebecers.

In short, “speaking Quebec” is an art that, once mastered, has the potential to open the doors to this unique and important market.

To learn more about our Quebec team, contact us today