'Sex' video on YouTube provides PR push for Tourisme Montréal

MONTREAL : Tourisme Montréal is promoting itself as an "anything goes" destination to gay travellers, with a viral video that suggests two male calèche drivers getting it on in broad daylight.

MONTREAL : Tourisme Montréal is promoting itself as an “anything goes” destination to gay travellers, with a viral video that suggests two male calèche drivers getting it on in broad daylight.

The 45-second video, called ”Dave does Montréal” that was filmed in Old Montréal, features a young man informing gay and lesbian travellers that the city has more to offer than just a great gay scene, such as its old world architecture and gourmet restaurants. As Dave delivers his pitch, behind him viewers can see a carriage rocking back and forth.

“Montréal has this kind of anything goes reputation. If you ask me, I think it's a little exaggerated,” Dave concludes, as two men emerge from the carriage.  

The video is part of a pilot to test the effectiveness of an online viral effort, said Bertin Jacques, Tourisme Montréal's manager of media relations, gay and lesbian market. The communications team worked with Montréal agency Sid Lee on the ad. The video cost just $10,000 to make; a $50,000 online media buy included such US Web sites as logoonline.com, gay.com, gaywired.com, out.com and the advocate.com. On YouTube, the ad has been viewed more than 9,200 times, exceeding expectations, Jacques said.   

At the same time, PR staff reached out to their various media contacts across North America, where the ad gave them an opportunity to pitch Montréal as the most open gay destination in North America. “If you actually listen to what the ad is saying, we are telling gay travellers that they will feel welcome in every neighbourhood of Montréal, not just the village, “ said Jacques. “It was picked up by a lot of bloggers, shared between friends, and got many comments on Youtube.”

He said they plan to build on the momentum of this campaign in 2009. The ad is part of an effort to grow the annual number of gay and lesbian travellers to Montréal to roughly 450,000, from about the current 300,000.

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