Montreal Impact get mysterious with media

The soccer team celebrates its entry into the big leagues with a 36-hour 'mystery' campaign followed by a Montreal-centric media buy.

The Montreal Canadiens may be the most exciting hockey team in Canada right now, but without a baseball or basketball team to jazz up the off-season, major-league sports fans haven’t had a lot to get excited about since the Expos left town.

However, that will all change this year because Montreal’s soccer team, the Impact, have been awarded entry into North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) division, a move that will potentially launch the team into the singing, drum-pounding fandom enjoyed by teams like the Toronto FC and LA Galaxy.

Although many local soccer fans expected the move, the general public was largely unaware of the team’s ambition to be a part of the MLS. With only days to prepare for the press conference, due to a last-minute green light from the Montreal Impact ownership after the deal closed, the Montreal office of ad agency Allard Johnson launched a quick-and-dirty, 36-hour mystery campaign designed to build buzz before the big press conference. Using local sports radio and affiliated websites, the creative drove people to, a microsite that simply asked: What’s going to happen in 2012? Visitors were invited to post their guesses to a Facebook page created for the campaign and submit their mobile numbers to be reminded to tune into the live web feed of the press conference, which explained the ambiguous promo.

The ‘mystery’ phase of the campaign, which happened earlier this month, was a big success, Luc Paquette, VP client services, Allard Johnson, tells MiC. The site received 13,000 unique visits in the 36-hour period, and more than 800 comments were posted to the Facebook page.

Once the big news was out, the agency was charged with rolling out phase two, which includes building hype for the team and selling season tickets immediately, Paquette explains. In market right now, the launch campaign – with creative and media planning by Allard Johnson and media buying by the Montreal Impact’s marketing team – started with a four-page wrap of commuter paper 24 Hours and a radio campaign through local sports station CKAC (AM 730 Montreal). It is complemented with a sports-focused online buy, including,, and, and a print executions in the city’s major dailies, including La Presse and the Montreal Gazette. The campaign is slated to continue throughout the summer.