Montreal Boy is programmed to seduce you

We spoke to Tourisme Montréal about the marketing exercise/web series Montreal Boy: Some Strings Attached.

Montreal Boy: Some Strings Attached

Marketing isn’t always tasteful. Actually, a lot of the time it can be pretty jarring.

montreal boy logoBut Tourisme Montréal have been seriously hitting things out of the park for several years now, especially when we’re talking about their LGBT campaigns. Their latest for 2014, the web series Montreal Boy: Some Strings Attached, is so good that it’s earned international attention, and some people enjoyed the 30-minute, six-part series so much that they’re asking for more.

The series stars Francis Ducharme, who you may remember as Marc-André Grondin’s love interest in Jean-Marc Vallée’s C.R.A.Z.Y. The series is also co-written by François Boulay, who co-wrote C.R.A.Z.Y. with Vallée and co-stars Going Down in LA-LA Land’s Matthew Ludwinski.

Montreal Boy shines a spotlight on the city without seeming gimmicky or false, while telling a touching story that has clearly struck a chord with their audience. We spoke to Tourisme Montréal’s Tanya Churchmuch about the series’ development.

montreal-boy-5Kayla Marie Hillier: How did the idea to create a web series come about?
Tanya Churchmuch: For the last few years, we’d been doing this project that we called “Queer of the Year.” We did that for three years, had a lot of success and it ended up being its own series where the public was voting — it went really well. But after three years, we decided that we wanted to change things up a little bit. Last year, we did something called our “Influencers” campaign. We had a bunch of different people come in from the queer community — we had Carmen Carrera, Johnny GayPimp, Johnny Weir and DeAnne Smith. We had them all doing performances, but in Montreal and bringing a Montreal spin to it. At the same time, we started working on this campaign—we’ve basically been working on it since last summer. We did the shooting back in autumn as we got everything prepared for this springtime release.

montreal-boy-3We were working hand in hand with LogoTV through our marketing agency, Sid Lee, and Sid Lee’s digital site Jim Lee. And so we’d approached them early last summer saying that we’d like to see if we could come up with something together that might be interesting and be a little different. We’re always trying to find an original fun way to do marketing where it’s going to make people have this aspirational feeling towards Montreal, but without it feeling like it’s being forced on them in any way. This whole web series is something that came out of that.

KMH: How did you get people like François Boulay involved?
TC: That was all through Jimmy Lee. We knew that we wanted people working on the project who were going to have an affinity with the content. And we knew that we wanted to do something that was going to be truly Montreal. The music is done by Montreal musicians, directed by locals, written by locals, shot by locals — y’know, for us, that was really important because it comes back to the authenticity of what we’re trying to sell and that’s an open image of what Montreal is for the LGBT community.

montreal-boy-11KMH: Do you think you’ll do more with this campaign in particular? Or will it be something entirely different in the future?
TC: We don’t really know right now. This part of it was definitely a one-off. We haven’t figured out yet what we’re going to be doing in 2015 — I’m always excited to see. We’ve done some really awesome stuff over these past few years. ■

Check out the full series here