Tourism ‘cheaters’ storm Toronto and Montreal

Perceived rivals Tourism Toronto and Tourisme Montréal have 'reconciled' to launch a cheeky new campaign featuring 'mobile hotel rooms' - that also double as confessional booths - for urbanites in need of immediate absolution.

Torontonians may think nothing of going to New York or Boston for a weekend, but somehow, going to Montreal feels different, says Andrew Weir, VP, communications, Tourism Toronto.

‘It feels like we’re betraying what it means to be a Torontonian,’ Weir tells MiC.

To poke fun at this perceived rivalry between the two cities, Tourism Toronto and Tourisme Montréal today launched a co-branded campaign that invites urbanites to confess their illicit fling in a mobile confessional booth, which is designed to look like a hotel room.

With about six stops in each city for the next two weeks, these rooms are equipped with a bed, and participants can put on a bathrobe to confess their scandalous affairs with Montréal or Toronto on camera. These videos of guilty travellers will be uploaded to QuickieWithMontré or, where visitors can also find our more about each city and vote on their favourite story. One winner will be chosen from each city to win a trip to Toronto or Montréal.

Created by Sid Lee, the campaign will be promoted through Newad’s indoor advertising network, including mini-boards and digital signage in both cities. Newad’s e-boards will run promotional, 15-second pre-taped videos created for the campaign. Street teams will hand out promotional materials including maps created by Sid Lee, while a radio buy will run ads on Virgin Radio in Toronto and Energie in Montréal, which was handled by Cosette.

‘We know that there are people in both cities who have had a good time in the other, and who want to tell their friends about it – we want to give them permission to do that,’ says Weir.

Both tourism organizations believe that the cheating hearts campaign is a great example of the new engagement tactics they must employ to reach travellers who have more info and access to cities around the world and are keen to plan their own adventures.

‘We know that consumers do their own research and that word-of-mouth remains incredibly important still,’ says Tanya Churchmuch, manager, international media relations & leisure market, Tourism Montréal. ‘We’ve really changed our approach in how we interact and communicate with our potential visitors. We have our blogs that we’re updating a couple of times per day that really bring up some interesting and different things that they’re not used to seeing from a traditional tourism board perspective,’ Churchmuch tells MiC.

This campaign joins the conversation that people in both cities are already having about the two destinations, adds Weir.

‘We can’t just put ads out and try to convince people to come here. We need to be part of that conversation they’re having with friends – they’re having it online, in person, in all sorts of different ways. The best thing we can do is be part of it,’ he says.