Chris Powell
Jun 25, 2024

Pepsi's Quebec summer campaign is sealed with a kiss

Created by Anomaly, "Ici, Quand on aime, on aime” (“Here, when we love, we love”) uses kissing as a representation of Quebecers' passion for the things they love. Including Pepsi.

Pepsi Canada has unveiled the latest in a long line of Quebec-specific marketing initiatives with a new summer effort that celebrates the 90th anniversary of its first-ever bottling plant outside the U.S., which opened in Montreal in 1934.

Created by Anomaly, and using a cast of more than 30 Quebeckers, “Ici, Quand on aime, on aime” (“Here, when we love, we love”) is described as “a love letter to Quebec.” It is built around a 60-second spot that features the 1983 song “C’est bon pour le moral” by the French pop band La Compagnie Créole.

The spot uses footage from the province’s pop culture over the years, including WWE star Kevin Owens, the 1984 film La Guerre Des Tuques, and the teledrama Chambres en ville. The video is running across TV and digital, supported by out-of-home and social.

It blends contemporary and archival footage of people kissing—not just passionately, but also a mom kissing a child’s boo-boo better and a man kissing a bowl of poutine—to demonstrate the passion Quebecers feel for the things they love.

That includes Pepsi, which, in a break with category norms around the world, is the favoured soft drink among Quebecers. The brand’s decades-long focus on creating marketing specifically for Quebec audiences has long been cited as a key factor in its market dominance. 

Reid Black, senior director at PepsiCo Canada, said that the company is known for being among the first major multinational companies to commit to a Quebec-specific marketing approach.  “The key to Pepsi’s popularity in Quebec has been its close attention to the consumer,” he said. “We pride ourselves in creating campaigns in Quebec for the Quebec consumer.”

(Campaign contributer Mark Smkya wrote earlier this year about how Pepsi achieved resonance in the market by creating marketing “responding to the heartbeat of Quebecois culture.”)

Black said that Quebec has been ground zero for several major marketing initiatives over the years, including the launch of the first-ever Pepsi Taste Test in Montreal in 1942, and a 1976 campaign featuring Quebec pop singer René Simard.

Among the brand’s most famous marketing decisions came in 1985, when it opted not to use the global campaign “The Choice of a New Generation,” featuring pop superstar Michael Jackson, in Quebec. According to a 1993 Cassies case study, Quebecers were “a different ‘generation’ than portrayed in the commercials.”

Instead, it enlisted Montreal-born TV, film and theatre actor Claude Meunier—who The New York Times described in a 2009 article about the brand’s Quebec success as “a moderately successful member of a Quebec comedy duo”—to be the face of the brand in Quebec, a role he would continue until 2002.

Meunier is credited with helping the brand carve out what was a 20-point advantage in market share in Quebec. “No other marketing initiatives were used that might explain this remarkable turn-around,” said the summary.

That mid-1980s campaign established a winning formula for Pepsi in Quebec that continues to this day through campaigns such as 2003’s “Ici, c’est Pepsi,” which featured a multicultural generation of Quebecers extolling the province’s unique elements (poutine, potholes, moving day, etc).

“The spot was the evolution after Claude, with all of the characters embodying togetherness—a core value in Quebec—shown in an insightful way” said Black. Last year saw the brand launched “C’est Meilleur avec Pepsi” (Better with Pepsi) emphasizing the pairing of Pepsi with different food items.

“Pepsi continues to be a part of the fabric of the province because we put our consumers at the forefront of everything we do and that includes understanding what defines Quebec culture and the passion point,” said Black. “The brand has never been shy about reinventing itself to evolve with consumers and move at the speed of culture.”

 

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