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Eminem, The Chrysler 200 and the branding of cities!

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 03-31-11 at 10:27 a.m.


Click here to view the ad on YouTube


Every year, the Super Bowl in the U.S. is as much a festival of advertising as it is a celebration of football. Advertisers and advertising agencies outdo each other in their creative efforts to show off their abilities. And the most recent of these events certainly holds its own when compared to previous years.

Although all the advertisements were entertaining and effective this year, one in particular attracted our attention because of its relevance to major trends in consumer psychology that we have been measuring over the past few years.

This ad seems to promote the city of Detroit as much as the car! While thoroughly valorising the “masstige” virtues of the new Chrysler 200, it also defends Detroit’s “DNA”. It puts forth a narrative that goes to the very heart of this city’s “brand”.

In addition, the brand is positioned in a manner that rallies some of the most important trends in consumer psychology today.

It presents a vision of the city’s founding myth, the very spirit that initiated it all, while underlining the dynamic impulse that continues to drive it and gives it resilience.

This ad marvellously exudes the trend “brand authenticity” that we measure in our Panorama (3SC) program and which is currently on the increase in Canada. This trend expresses great respect and sensitivity toward brands that have a soul, a narrative, a story to tell, all of which must be incontestably authentic.

Personal potential, the need to surpass (challenge) oneself and pride are also expressed wonderfully (all of which are trends that are currently on the rise in Canada). It unabashedly tells about the hard times that the city has been through and especially its reputation as a “devastated” city. However, it also extolls the city’s resilience, its ability to take charge and to bring out the very best in itself despite everything.

“Neo-localism”, a trend that we see progressing year after year, is expressed equally well by this ad. The narrative exudes a proud and deeply rooted local identity that nourishes the personal identities of those who connect with this story.

Furthermore, the beauty of this concept is that it can be “cloned” to any city that has its own founding myth. Based on the history of any city, the values of its citizens, as well as those who look toward it for inspiration, a narrative can be constructed in order to build the branding of these cities.

In today’s context where cities have to develop their brand in order to position themselves on an international chess board that is becoming increasingly competitive, this ad seems extraordinarily inspiring.



What kind of cheese are you?

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-13-11 at 3:23 p.m.

Image for What kind of cheese are you?

The foods on our plate are faithful mirrors of our personality. As far back as 1825, the French gastronome Brillat-Savarin  was an ardent defender of this theory, which CROP’s Nutrio and Panorama programs have championed for more than 20 years, regardless of the product category being studied.

The world of cheese provides us with a good example via two products that are now well-integrated in the eating habits of Canadians, although they both come from Europe: Mozzarella and Feta cheeses.

So, are you more of a Mozzarella type or a Feta type of person? The answer might seem unimportant until we establish the profile of regular consumers of each of these products.

Of course, fans of both of these cheeses are generally hedonists and have a tendency to consider food more as a pleasure than as a simple fulfillment of a physiological need; however, the similarities end there and the rest paints a picture of two very distinct worlds.

The regular consumer of Mozzarella is of an impulsive nature, someone who seeks spontaneous pleasures and runs on strong emotions and sensations. He displays avidity for food: he enjoys the sensation of feeling stuffed and doesn’t hesitate to take a second helping of a dish that he enjoyed. He prefers spicy foods or at the very least, foods that have a strong taste – from this viewpoint, mozzarella plays the role of an ingredient that gives consistency to dishes that are otherwise spicy. His diet does not follow a particular routine; he eats when he is hungry and regularly nibbles between meals or even instead of meals. Spontaneity is the key word for him; he always has something with him or in his kitchen to alleviate the munchies or a sudden desire to eat. His voracious appetite does not prevent him from making some healthy choices: notably, he tries to limit his consumption of sugar, salt and fried foods. Finally, his values profile shows a certain taste for risk, which leads him to flirt with that which is forbidden and to be an early adopter of new products and services that appear on the market.

The regular consumer of Feta cheese has much more structured dietary habits. Meals are essential milestones throughout his day; they provide a regular rhythm to his daily life and are an opportunity to connect with the people around him. Impulsive snacking is not a usual part of his lifestyle. In fact, this consumer is the quintessential example of the Nutrio segment we call “Foodies” and the Panorama segment that we call “Explorers”, both of which have been on the rise in Canada over the past few years. We are looking at an individual who loves to discover new things when it comes to food, as well as in his daily life. He wants to broaden his horizons by exploring cuisine from other cultures, new ingredients that he sees in the supermarket or new ways of preparing food. He doesn’t hesitate to try complicated recipes or even make up his own recipes. He enjoys learning in general and is inclined to enrich his knowledge of food and cooking by perusing articles, recipes and websites as well as watching television programs on the subject. The Feta consumer is strongly preoccupied by the quality of the food he eats; he reads the list of ingredients in order to avoid foods that contain additives and preservatives. Endowed with a strong social and ecological conscience, he tends to prefer locally-produced foods and to reject genetically modified foods. Furthermore, he is often inclined toward sophisticated choices: to him, the elegance of a dish, its refinement in terms of taste and presentation are as important as its nutritional value.

While the Mozzarella aficionado is more of a strategic consumer who considers price a major factor in the quality vs. price equation, the Feta aficionado is much more centered on value added: he seeks “a little something extra” that gives him a different experience, which adds a touch of originality to his meal, even if it means spending a little more.

To accompany his meals, the Mozzarella consumer would probably choose a mainstream type of beer while the Feta consumer would be more likely to track down a relatively good quality wine.

Therefore, let us suggest that you don’t invite these two individuals to the same party, or if you have no choice, don’t seat them together because they probably won’t have much in common to talk about!

Similarly, if you are targeting both these types of consumers, your marketing strategies shouldn’t address them in the same manner. The Mozzarella consumer will be more receptive to an approach centered on the joy of eating substantial meals, on innovation and the accessibility of the product, in an environment that expresses intensity, with a touch of rebellion. On the other hand, the Feta consumer would be more seduced by an approach that satisfies his thirst for discovery, transforming a simple cheese into an experience that allows him to travel and is physically and culturally nourishing, encapsulated in a relatively sophisticated environment where the integrity (the naturalness) of the food is emphasized.

So, Feta, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Brie, Havarti, Gouda, Edam, Gorgonzola? If each type of cheese corresponds to a personality type, we can understand why the former French president, Charles de Gaulle, humorously wondered, “how can you govern a country which has 258 varieties of cheese?”
Of course, our tools are not limited to analyzing the cheese category as exemplified in this article. CROP’s Nutrio program allows us to draw up, in each food category, the profile of different types of consumers according to the specific product they favour or the brand they buy, thereby helping our clients ground their marketing strategies on the drives and desires of their consumers and potential consumers.

For further information on the values and/or food habits of consumers of your product category or brands, do not hesitate to contact us!


Multikulti ist absolut gescheitert

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-13-11 at 2:58 p.m.

Image for Multikulti ist absolut gescheitert

The call sounded from Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a well-planned speech, declared that multiculturalism in Germany was a total failure and had led to the ghettoization of immigrants.

This statement had a lot of power due to the size of Germany. However, it echoed the thinking of many nations like the Netherlands, who have embraced the path of multiculturalism and are now questioning that choice.

In England, which is to some extent the cradle of multiculturalism, this method of living together is also being questioned. The bombings of July 2005 shocked the English because they were committed by terrorists who were born in England, had studied in good schools and had benefitted from a favourable economic climate.

Other countries, such as France and Greece, have taken a different path. They promote integrating immigrants into a strong national culture. Similar events in these two countries have caused racial and social tensions. In Clichy-sous-Bois in 2005, two teenagers were killed after having been chased by police. This event triggered riots that broke out in many French suburbs. Despite these tensions, French politicians have not questioned their policies, although they face similar challenges such as exclusion and ghettoization. On the contrary, they seem to have hardened their attitude, which is supported by public opinion.

Globe and Mail editorial: Strike multiculturalism from the national vocabulary

In Canada, in a very thorough series of articles, The Globe and Mail recommended discarding the term multiculturalism. For the average Canadian reader, it was as if the National Post announced that Canada is not ″Socialist″ enough. Or if The Gazette printed an editorial stating that Quebec’s language laws should be reinforced. For the Canadian intelligentsia in general, and particularly for Torontonians, this charge against multiculturalism would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Moreover, the current mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, clearly differentiated himself from his opponents during the election campaign by making a statement against rising immigration levels.

For many countries, multiculturalism constitutes a policy of integrating immigrants. In Canada, it is at the very heart of its identity. This policy is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, article 27.

In Quebec, this famous article is far from unanimously accepted. It caused the crisis on reasonable accommodations. The Supreme Court judgement on the right to wear the kirpan in schools triggered discontent among many Quebecers who viewed it as a breach against Quebecois identity, contrary to Quebecois communal values. This crisis allowed a third party (the ADQ) to take power. To calm the storm, the Charest government announced the establishment of the Bouchard-Taylor commission to investigate the issue. Their answer was interculturalism, which Charles Taylor has admitted is very close to multiculturalism (″multiculturalism with a twist″ was his answer to a journalist who asked him the difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism). Daniel Weinstock, expert advisor on the commission declared that ″Therefore, I don’t think that interculturalism and multiculturalism are all that different (...) The difference lies more in nuances than in fundamental principles″. In fact, Jean Charest, who ordered the report, even admitted that the report is very complex and difficult to understand for those of us who do not earn a living examining such questions.

In fact, these questions lead to our relationship with another issue: that of religion (or secularism) and citizenship.

Beyond intellectual reflections and political agendas, what do Canadians think of these questions? Thanks to CROP’s Panorama (formerly known as 3SC), our unique tool to measure social values, we have been measuring these perceptions since 1983.

Of course these beliefs contain many nuances, but we wanted to reduce them to their most simple form for the purpose of this report. As a result, we have divided the possible attitudes regarding new immigrants into three positions.

The anti-immigrationists: you are not welcome here

These Canadians perceive immigration in a negative light, notably because it threatens the idea of purity. They agree with the statement, ″On the whole, there is too much immigration and it threatens the purity of the country″. With regard to values, they clearly believe that their country is superior to others. They are cynical, and they prefer social Darwinism and are allergic to progressiveness, social measures, the implication of government and the mixing of cultures. Consumption plays a very big role in the construction of their identities. There are more of this type of people in Quebec and Alberta and less in the coastal regions of Canada (the Maritimes and British Columbia). The majority of them have little education and live in small communities.

The multiculturalists: welcome to our country, do as in your country

At the other extreme of the spectrum, there are Canadians who believe that the host country should do everything possible to adapt to immigrants. They disagree with the statement ″Immigrants from other races and ethnic groups should put aside their culture and try to adapt to Canadian culture″. In the psychological sense, they are very flexible, very open to new types of families, to new gender roles, to others and to cultural mixing. They are not deeply rooted in the sense that they are not very concerned about their own history, customs and traditions. They experience life through their emotions and their relationships with others. Their relationship with the state is complex, because they want the state to implicate itself to an extent but at the same time they rather distrust it. They are concerned about the environment and they distrust large corporations. Finally, they feel in control of their lives and are neither fatalistic nor cynical. From a sociodemographic point of view, multiculturalists are more common among the well-educated, people under the age of 35 and women. They are proportionally more common in the Maritimes and less common in Quebec.

The pro-integrationists: welcome to our country, do as in our country

This group has a favourable opinion of immigration, as long as new immigrants integrate themselves within the host country. They agree with the affirmation that ″Immigrants from other races and ethnic groups should put aside their culture and try to adapt to Canadian culture″. They are pragmatic people, moderates who value certain ethics. They are Canadians who believe that citizenship brings rights but also responsibilities. They cultivate and value their own traditions.


In 1995, close to one out of two Canadians (45%) were against immigration. This proportion rapidly diminished by the end of the 1990s, stabilizing at around 35%.

Multiculturalist Canadians were at 29% in 1995 and their proportion rapidly increased around the turn of the millennium, reaching 40%. This period was a tipping point in public opinion. We witnessed a quick and drastic change from a state of tension regarding immigration to a completely open position.

Then the events of September 2001 changed the figures. While temporary, the 2002 rate revealed a return to a closed attitude toward immigrants. We must recall the climate of that era to truly comprehend this result.

However, from 2005 to today, we have observed an erosion of support of multiculturalism and an increase of people who advocate integrating immigrants into a strong culture. This position has been constantly increasing since 2005. Today, almost one in three Canadians place themselves in this category (32%) while it was only one in four (26%) in 1995.


In their 2010 annual report on immigration, the Canadian ministry of Citizenship and Immigration announced that Canada will receive about 250,000 new immigrants in 2011 (between 240,000 and 270,000 to be more precise). Therefore, over the course of the next five years, we will welcome more people than the population of Manitoba. In Quebec, the established immigration threshold is 55,000. For a country such as Canada, with an aging population and a low birth rate, immigrants constitute an increase to the active population and an economic boost as well. The major urban Canadian cities already have very high immigration rates. For example, in 2006, 52% of Toronto inhabitants were not born in Canada.

The success of immigration depends on the ability of immigrants to find a place for themselves within the host country and also for society to welcome the immigrants. From this point of view, the main danger would be if public opinion began to view immigration in a negative light. As we have shown, this is not the case; negative views regarding immigration have remained stable for the last decade or so.

However, Canadians increasingly want immigrants to adopt Canadian values. Is this in response to activism among certain religious groups? Is it because certain Canadians who were born here have the impression that they are minorities in their own communities? It is dangerous to abstract upon this sentiment as it might lead to an increasingly tense attitude toward immigration. If Canadians feel that they are only being offered a choice between multiculturalism and anti-immigration, many will choose the latter.


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!