Comedy as the vehicle for public relations in the Québec Market
In Quebec, comedy gets big laughs—and big bucks
French-language comedy might get lost in translation, but there’s no mistaking the fact that the humour business is no joke in Quebec. It’s not even funny how much it can help your public relations. The province is home to the world’s biggest comedy festival, Just For Laughs. And now there’s even a new contender: Grand Montréal Comédie Fest.
Grand Montréal Comédie Fest.
Few outside the province may have seen hockey comedy Les Boys or its sequels, but that hasn’t stopped it becoming one of the highest-grossing film franchises in Canadian history, even if it knocks some Chiclets out of good taste. And Quebec has more than its share of comedy superstars too. While the likes of Martin Matte and his fellow French-speaking funnymen couldn’t get arrested in the anglophone world, they’re household names in their home province—and laughing all the way to the bank.
Martin Matte successful Maxi campaign 2018
Leveraging humour in Québec for Public Relations
Does this mean that humour can be a gateway to the heart of the Quebec consumer? While there are few certainties in this beautiful marketing life, humour is as close as you will get to assured success. The only twist to be aware of is that Quebecers can laugh at themselves but does not find it too funny when someone else does.
How to be effective
To be most effective while utilizing a humorous tone in your communications approach in Quebec, you need to hire local comedians. Local stars work best when you are trying to deliver your message in a humorous tone. Situational comedy (like the one we see in most sitcoms) is not a style of comedy that works well in Quebec.
Situational comedy like Seinfeld is not the prevalent comedy style in Quebec.
Let the comedian shine
Trying to hire a comedian to play a role in a script is like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. On the contrary, you should focus on developing the messaging around the comedian. The reason is simple: people love their local comedians and they are expecting their signature comedy when they see them in an ad.
Patrick Huard’s taxi driver character lights up Intact Assurance ads.
How to integrate comedians in your public relations communications
Having access to a comedian as a spokesperson can easily help cement or open opportunities with vendors and retailers. Photo ops with employees, as well as invitations to the comedian shows, go a long way. Needless to say, any written material should incorporate the comedian to have consistency in the campaign.
Media events are a great way for reporters to experience your products or services. Include in your event flow the comedian’s appearance. This way reporters will have an additional storyline to develop, giving you more earned media space. Sometimes this is the difference between only getting a blurb in the newspaper and an article. Be sure to create a context for the comedian to feel comfortable and don’t try to shove his or her way all the messaging for your company. Always utilize people’s strength.
Joannie Rochette was the star of a media event in one of our public relations activations. An example of leveraging her healthy and athletic aura for the launch of a product.
Even if some pundits express doubts about the effectiveness of Influencers in your marketing mix, you cannot overlook the fact that people interact better with people than with brands. Hence, influencers give a human vehicle to your company and brand. And inviting your comedian spokesperson to get involve with other influencers will help raise the attractiveness of your campaign as well as give a popularity boost to the influencers. A win/win situation.
Social media campaigns
Your owned social channels are probably well established. By that, I mean that you have found your voice as well as your fanbase. But this should not deter you from involving your chosen comedian with your social channels. If you have gone through a rigorous selection process his/her presence will be accepted and will only enhance your communications and not disrupt your community. It can help you get traction to open conversations as well as help spread your messaging faster to a larger audience.
Comedy is 90% cultural. So instead of trying to reproduce your comedic concept to the Quebec culture, call upon a local comedian to help your messaging resonate. That will prevent faux-pas:)