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Why are there so many festivals in Quebec and how can we benefit from them?

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-07-11 at 3:29 p.m.

Image for Why are there so many festivals in Quebec and how can we benefit from them?

If someone wanted to devote themselves to attending a festival in Quebec every weekend, it would take them five years or more to attend all of them. There are more than 250 festivals in Quebec (or even more according to the source we consulted). Why are there so many festivals? Why do Quebecers attend so many? What opportunities does this represent for brands?

We have heard about Quebecers’ legendary joie de vivre that is often mentioned to explain this passion for festivals. We are hedonists. We love to party, we love to laugh, sing and dance. But that’s not all. As part of CROP’s Panorama (3SC) program, we have identified the personal values of people who attend some of the big festivals in Quebec and have realized that Quebecers’ legendary hedonism is not the only factor in motivating Quebecers to attend festivals.

Going to a festival also fills the need to be around other people, to share emotions with others. In Europe, people go out in the streets or to cafés, while in Quebec people go to festivals. It’s a natural desire to communicate, to be in contact with others, to be immersed in a crowd. Quebecers who attend festivals take immense pleasure in finding themselves among hundreds of thousands of other people in festive environments (we have only to think of the big shows on the Plaines d’Abraham in Quebec City during their Summer Festival or the Place des Festivals in Montreal during the Jazz Festival).

Festival-goers are also very open-minded. Going to a festival is an opportunity for discovery; it fosters opening one’s heart and mind to new things, to originality and cultural diversity. It’s an opportunity to share experiences with others, talk to others, get out of isolation and have new experiences. Festival-goers consider themselves citizens of the world and going to a festival is a way of being connected to what’s going on in the rest of the world.
However, Quebecers who attend festivals are critical people who do not easily trust big corporations, thereby making it necessary for sponsors to make concrete gestures that improve the festival-goers’ experience. Their mere presence does not guarantee success. For the same reason, overly commercial operations that are too intrusive should be avoided, as they may provoke the opposite of the desired effect.


Quebecers love their festivals and attend in large numbers. The many surveys we have conducted among people who have attended festivals such as the Just for Laughs Festival, the Jazz Festival, the St-Tite Western Festival, Divers/Cité etc. all show very high levels of satisfaction and loyalty. Attendees enjoyed their experiences and the majority said that they will go again.

In terms of marketing, this represents a wonderful opportunity for brands to take advantage of this situation to, among other things, reinforce their popularity. For a brand seeking to maintain or improve its image, its popularity, nothing could be more effective than being associated with a festival and contributing to festival-goers’ experiences. However, as festivals are generally places to have fun and discover new things, brands must respect this fact. They must not be overly serious or try to sell things or display their products to no end. They must not be overly intrusive or bother festival-goers by being too persistent. They should respect the festival atmosphere and not try solely to build brand awareness. Research shows us that operating in a discrete and integrated manner can be more beneficial in terms of improved image and popularity than operations that are overly aggressive and intrusive that will only serve to make the company more well-known. After all, Quebecers go to festivals to have fun and discover more about the world. Let us respect them.

Of course, not all festivals match with all brands. One should choose a festival that matches the target markets and values of the brand, according to the brand promise and the short and medium-term marketing objectives (being well aware that sponsorship is a long-term investment). A product designed for mass consumption should naturally be associated with a popular, large-scale festival, while a more specifically targeted product would benefit more from associating with a more specifically targeted event, which of course, would attract a smaller audience…

In the end, there are no hard and fast rules and only a deep, detailed and thoughtful analysis of your needs and objectives with regards to the available events will allow you to make the right choice. After all, sponsoring a festival generally entails a more or less long-term relationship (3, 4, 5 years). Make the right choice… and enjoy the festival!


The need to decelerate and Kronenbourg 1664 beer!

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-07-11 at 11:49 a.m.

Image for The need to decelerate and Kronenbourg 1664 beer!


Click here to see the ad on YouTube


It has been five years since we first introduced the trend that we call Deceleration into our Panorama (3SC) program. As its name suggests, this trend measures the need to slow down the pace of life, the feeling that life is going too fast and, in the daily frenzy, we might be missing out on certain pleasures. This trend is especially expressed in the need to create and enjoy experiences that allow us to relax from time to time, to calm down, experiences that offer a temporary escape from the usual hectic pace of life.

This trend of deceleration, which was created in 2005, today includes (at its peak) about 1 in 6 Canadians. Our studies indicate that 15% of Canadians are extremely strong followers of this trend. They feel like they are constantly in a rush and heartily embrace experiences that are conducive to relaxation. We have observed that in these moments of respite, they enjoy sensual experiences that allow them to savour certain pleasures and recharge before once again facing their hectic lives (as they tend to be high achievers).

However, if we add to this number all those who, albeit occasionally, dream about these types of relaxing experiences, the proportion of Canadians characterized by the need to slow down increases substantially to include one in two Canadians (53%, if we rely on this indicator alone)! It’s very interesting that we created this trend in 2005 and over the following two years it made dazzling progress in Canada, growth that was temporarily reversed during the 2008 recession but has increased again since 2010 (now situated at more than 1 in 2 Canadians). Although the trend is somewhat stable at the moment, it still includes a significant segment of the population who strongly value experiences of relaxation, serenity and escape.

It is equally interesting to observe that these individuals who feel this need to decelerate also exhibit all the characteristics of high achievers in our society: people who feel the need to assert themselves, to accomplish and set new goals for themselves, thus creating a hectic pace of life. These high achievers need to accomplish projects, whether in their professional or personal lives; they are people who constantly feel the need to try new things, express their creativity, and as a result, live their lives to the fullest. They are truly people who rarely stop and are always thinking up new ways of fulfilling their maximum potential.

Still, they seem to realize that they must "recharge their batteries" from time to time and are therefore looking for relaxing experiences and quiet time. This doesn’t mean that they want to sit around and do nothing during those times; they are, after all, people focused on achievement! For them, relaxation means discovering new things but at a different pace; experiences that are calming but at the same time intellectually and emotionally stimulating. People who long to decelerate are strongly attracted by “Polysensoriality″, meaning that they seek unique experiences that they can feel with all their senses. They are interested in learning about other people, they enjoy discovering about other cultures; our statistics show that they are fascinated by different cultural influences. They are also attracted to innovation and consumption; they want to know all about new things in life and on the market, therefore, due to their desire for discovery and experimentation, they make very good consumers.

It is interesting to note that this group of trends is only slightly related to specific sociodemographic or socioeconomic factors as we have observed only a minor over-representation of young people and women. We therefore seem to be looking at a sociocultural phenomenon, a mental attitude that includes people from all sections of society.


We are drawing attention to this trend because we recently came across an advertisement on the Internet that perfectly expresses this need to decelerate. In fact, due to the large percentage of Canadians who are touched by this phenomenon (depending on its intensity, it can affect from 1 in 4 to 1 in 2 people), we would like to emphasize that this sociocultural trend is extremely important as it represents important positioning opportunities for brands, products and services that promise calming and relaxing experiences that are also intellectually and/or sensually stimulating. This British beer advertisement marvellously expresses this spirit of deceleration! It is part of an advertising campaign called “Slow the Pace″.

This ad promises the consumer of Kronenbourg 1664 beer a calming, sensual and stimulating experience. It takes place in a bar and the scene begins with a close-up on a clock showing that it is 6:37 PM; we can imagine that the people have just finished work and have come to the bar to relax and have a beer. Then we see the musicians from the band Motörhead, with the group’s founder and singer Lemmy Kilmister singing a wonderful blues version of their song “Ace of Spades″ at a much slower rhythm than the original version, a hypnotising rhythm that expresses all the relaxation and contentment one could hope for, listening to good music and savouring a good beer.

However, if we make a semiotic analysis of the details, meaning that when we identify the sociocultural trends, values and motivations that are expressed by this ad, we realize that it is highly charged with symbols and significance. This advertisement perfectly expresses certain trends from our Panorama (3SC) program such as Polysensoriality: we can almost taste the beer, we see the foam on people’s lips and we feel that they are savouring the bitterness and the freshness. Also, throughout the scene, none of the colours assault the eyes. The music is a feast for the ears and the senses.

The Kronenbourg 1664 beer ad also expresses Cultural Fusion: the bar brings together people from different social groups; young people, old people, workers and students rub elbows and form an eclectic social patchwork during this moment of relaxation. Moreover, by choosing to place the action in a French bar, we witness Brand Genuineness (as the beer originated in a Strasbourg brewery in 1664), further emphasized by the genuineness of the characters. The singer clearly doesn’t fit within classical standards of beauty and the camera angles do not minimize his “faults″; the bar clientele is composed of people who are ordinary and real-looking.

In short, the whole ad is a wonderful call to the senses and to the spirit, demonstrating extraordinary creativity on the part of the creators. We therefore have a cocktail of sociocultural trends and motivations that precisely reflects the lifestyles and desires of people who are, in one way or another, strong on the Deceleration trend. It expresses “stimulating idleness″ and invokes the desire to have an experience that is both sensual and cerebral. This ad wonderfully positions the brand in relation to calming experiences and polysensorial deceleration. We consider it an excellent example of expressing a brand promise that responds to the need that many of us feel to slow down the pace of our lives.

Once again, let us mention that a significant portion of the population is centered on deceleration and our statistics indicate that the need to relax causes them, for example, to regularly drink premium alcoholic beverages. Their desire to have stimulating sensual experiences inspires them to choose products that express refinement. In light of this, we can see that this beer is positioned in a niche of sophistication and sensuality that perfectly corresponds to the desires of this type of consumer.

And on top of all this, the music is fantastic!

We thought that you might find this ad interesting: it might inspire you if you have brands or products or services that provide moments of deceleration.

Watch this wonderful ad – we hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!



A Christmas JAM

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 12-21-10 at 9:24 a.m.

Image for A Christmas JAM

The holiday season is, for brands, products and services, a time of year centered on sales, numbers that we examine under a magnifying glass with charts, comparatives and projections, but what does this festive season mean to consumers?

To answer this question, CROP turned to its new product, ″Jam″, the qual/quant iDeation protocol to survey people’s perceptions with a special ″Christmas Jam″ and the results we obtained thanks to this powerful tool are absolutely fascinating!

We asked Quebecers to talk about holiday shopping.

They simply didn’t want to!

Instead, they talked about the spirit of sharing at Christmastime by denouncing the fact that holiday shopping has become overly commercialized. This has implications for marketing and branding. What this tells us is that during the holiday season, we must put the emphasis in our positioning on generosity and the contribution of brands toward conviviality among people!

What a blast!!!

We are sharing extracts of a conference given by Alain Giguère on this subject. Simply click on the following link to view the document.

Happy Holidays!

Click here to read the complete study


How many axes in your factor analysis? The little unknown history.

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 12-13-10 at 11:47 a.m.

Image for How many axes in your factor analysis? The little unknown history.

Thoughts on the number of axes to be kept in a factor analysis, or how obsolete economic constraints still affect factor analysis.


Market research  frequently uses factor analysis, especially in order to reduce the number of dimensions of the analysis space, get rid of residual noise, and set up the table for clustering or regression. A commonly used criterion to determine the number of axes to be kept is a minimum threshold (usually 1 or slightly above 1) to be applied to the associated eigenvalues – Kaiser Guttman rule (KG). This seems reasonable since a retained axis should carry at least as much information as every single variable on which the analysis space is built. What has always looked awkward to us, however, is that this criterion is applied before the axes rotation while the whole remaining analysis is performed after rotation. We will demonstrate through a few examples why it seems more logical to apply the criterion after rotation (in which case one does not talk about eigenvalues, but their equivalent: sum of squared loadings) and will tentatively suggest explanations of the current practice, one of which is rather unexpected. Finally, we shall shortly explain our own practice.

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The CROP protocol for calibrating online panel surveys


Posted on 11-23-10 at 4:34 p.m.

This paper presents our solution for calibrating web panels. We use this method for our syndicated study (FOTO) as well as any web survey that studies a population for which we can obtain comparable data. Whenever possible, every study based on web panels is verified, weighted and calibrated using our unique method.

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