Using Words to Measure Emotions: The Secret to Cracking the Quebec Code Grand Ballroom #MRIA2017 


Live note-taking at the #MRIA2017 conference in Toronto. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Christian Bourque, Executive Vice President and Senior Partner, Leger, Doris Juergens, National Vice President of Strategy and Partner, NATIONAL Public Relations 

  • ‘Rest of Canada’ doesn’t exist, except to Quebecers
  • Are quebecers closer to France, English canada, or the USA? Data says those three equally. They are North American, they are french. THey do drink more alcohol, they do spend more on hygiene products.
  • Research asked people to choose words, how do they react to a variety of words.
  • French Quebec overindexes on tenderness, ingenuity, sensual, emotion, tolderance, warmth.  
  • Quebecers are less different than they think – they are identical on 70% of variables.  But the other 30% is huge. THey are more different than marketers think.
  • Joie de vivre is a huge difference. It belongs to francophones. They want to live in the moment, 30% more than anglophones. Financial literacy is poor in Quebec. Doing what I want dominates over doing the right thing in Quebec. They are about right here, right now, make the fullest of the present moment’.
  • ‘Enjoy yogurt’ would be English. “Orgasm yogurt’ would be quebecers – [yeah, the translation doesn’t work 🙂 ]
  • Canadians are yay-Sayers and quebecers are to the nth degree – they always say ‘yes but’
  • Quebecers donate less, volunteer less, more non-commital, more talk than action
  • Victim perspective, never responsible for their own destiny, it’s always someone else’s fault – this is why they’re more suspicious, non-committal 
  • Biggest fear is failure
  • Men are systematically depicted as idiots in advertising and no one says anything about it. It wouldn’t work n English market.
  • Parochialism – most older people come from small villages, small is beautiful, you know everyone, quebecers like to come together in small groups. Most want one of three Quebec stations. Top shows are produced in Quebec. THey want tto watch themselves, support themselves.
  • Don’t tell them you’re the best and biggest. You need to have humility, Use local spokespeople because they want to put a face on everything. President’s Choice wasn’t popular until the face of the brand was Gaylen Weston. You need french names, add a local face.
  • Coops and mutuals are very important – they reflect people coming together.
  • They are more instinctive, creative. They don’t hold levers of power so they have to make something out of nothing – creative, rebellious. 
  • They invented peanut butter!
  • Quebecers are prideful even though they feel they are victims. 20% intend to start their own business, up from 7% less than ten years ago.
  • Court of public opinion in Quebec is HUGELY important. INcluding mayors of cities with a few hundred people. They will pressure the Quebec which is called the national government. And they will put pressure on the federal govt. They will make any issue local and personal. 
  • Village first, then region, then province. 
  • You cannot use subtitles. You must translate and dub for Quebec french.
  • Consider using your own employees or customers, people with solid french names from the community
  • People will spot anything that suggests an ad that isn’t from Quebec and then not be convinced about the brand
  • Establish a relationship with people to give them a reason to like you
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