Friday,  October 22, 2021  8:03 am

City friends with benefits: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa launch tri-city tourism campaign

City friends with benefits: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa launch tri-city tourism campaign
A scene from the song The City Friends with Benefits Song (Escape).
Pax Global Media

Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa have launched a campaign aimed at reviving the excitement of travelling to three of Canada’s largest cities. 

The new campaign, "City Friends with Benefits," comes from Ottawa Tourism, Tourisme Montréal and Destination Toronto – the Destination Marketing Organizations for each respective city – marking the first time the three organizations have worked collectively on a campaign. 

The invitation to visit comes as the tourism industry and urban destinations begin the slow recovery process after nearly two years of impact from COVID restrictions.

City Friends with Benefits is an invitation for travellers from each city to escape their home town and visit the other cities. 

The campaign is a playful and cheeky take on the notion of “friends with benefits,” purposely light-hearted in contrast to the isolation and confinement over the course of the pandemic.

There's a song too

Anchoring the campaign is the release of a new song called The City Friends with Benefits Song (Escape). 

The track is a re-write and reworking of the iconic and undeniably catchy “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” featuring all-Canadian talent that entices residents to plan their next city escape. 

The tongue-in-cheek single comes with a newly-produced video that captures the spirit, vibe and personality of each city while simultaneously being self-aware of the playful relationship between the destinations, and being stuck at home during the pandemic.

“This is an unprecedented campaign for an unprecedented time. City Friends with Benefits is an escape from the norm at a time when escaping is top of mind for all of us,” said Scott Beck, president and CEO, Destination Toronto. “We’re ecstatic to welcome back visitors from Ottawa and Montreal, and I know so many of us in Toronto can’t wait to visit those great cities. We couldn’t ask for two better destinations to be our ‘friends with benefits.’”

Adding incentive for locals to escape to the nearby cities are travel offers from Air Canada and VIA Rail, both offering 20 percent off travel between the three destinations.

“Now is the best time to team up and showcase what our cities have in common,” said Yves Lalumière, president and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. “With this innovative campaign, we are excited to share all the experiences we have to offer with people of Ottawa and Toronto. We know how to bring out the best of Montréal and can’t wait for you to see it.”

The integrated City Friends with Benefits campaign includes media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, digital and out-of-home advertising, as well as Spotify, TikTok and YouTube - a unique strategy for a tourism campaign, relying on music industry marketing best practices for a track and video launch.

“The friendship along the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor is real, though the ability to catch up in person has been challenged by the pandemic,” said Michael Crockatt, president and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “If you’re looking for an escape from your day-to-day, or a fun flirtation with another urban centre, this campaign will provide all the temptation you need!”

To find out more about the campaign, visit the dedicated campaign site here

Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today