L’Itinéraire is much more than a magazine!

L’Itinéraire is much more than a magazine!

Using the theme “L’Itinéraire, c’est bien plus qu’un magazine” (L’Itinéraire is much more than a magazine), the community organization L’Itinéraire launched its new awareness campaign, created and produced by Montreal agency Upperkut.

With this poster-driven campaign, L’Itinéraire hopes to reach the general public and make it more aware of the number of services this not-for-profit organization offers. According to its general manager, Christine Richard, “The organization serves as a sort of lever for people. It offers a variety of services that help people get back on their feet.”

“Everyone has seen one of our magazine sellers and perhaps even bought the magazine, which is our most important tool,” explains Duffay Romano, head of operations and human resources for L’Itinéraire. “But we’re more than a magazine. L’Itinéraire is also social entrepreneurship, access to accommodation, proper nutrition, training programs, and income support. At L’Itinéraire, we take a global approach to solutions and hope.”

For Marc Desnoyers, director of client services at Upperkut, the agency was perfectly suited to bring this campaign to fruition. “We’re a socially involved agency,” he said. “We have never hesitated to associate ourselves to causes we take to heart. Obviously, with his campaign, we hope the public will give generously to L’Itinéraire.”

The campaign, which used backlit outdoor posters and printed posters, was deployed in the greater Montreal region.

To view a videoclip about the campaign, click here.

To make a donation:

About L’Itinéraire

The community group L’Itinéraire is a social organization that offers solutions for individuals who wish to evolve within society, and who have the will to undertake business projects on a human scale. L’Itinéraire empowers these people and helps them develop their ability to improve their financial and social condition by involving themselves in social economy projects. Participants in our projects are vulnerable individuals, both women and men, young and old, with low incomes or unemployed, many affected by social isolation, mental illness, or substance dependence.

First Nations are #ThirstyForJustice

First Nations are #ThirstyForJustice

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Grassy Narrows community took advantage of National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2016 to launch a campaign demanding access to safe drinking water in First Nations communities.

The campaign, developed by the Upperkut advertising agency, aims to mobilize the Canadian public and force the federal government to once and for all fix the problem of safe drinking water in First Nations communities.

The heart of the campaign is centred around video content and interviews shot in the community of Grassy Narrows. For Marc Desnoyers, Upperkut’s Account Services Director, working on this campaign was enriching both on the personal and professional level. “We’re always proud of the campaigns we’re involved in. But when we feel that we, as communicators, are helping an important cause, we’re even more proud. This campaign really opened our eyes to the situation of aboriginals in Canada, and I hope that it contributes to open the eyes of many other people as well.”

The campaign will be disseminated on the Web and in social media. All material is available at

The campaign video is available here.

The mini-documentary shot for the campaign is available here.

Upperkut campaigns receive CALM awards!

Upperkut campaigns receive CALM awards!

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and Teamsters Canada both won major awards at the recent Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Labour Media held on May 14, 2016 in Québec City. Upperkut is proud to have created, produced and deployed these important union campaigns.

During the CALM Awards Night that recognizes excellence in campaigns produced during the previous year, the “Vote to stop the cuts” campaign from the PSAC , as well as the Teamsters Canada campaign about beer in brown bottles both received awards.

Teamsters Canada received the award for the best short video created for the “Long live beer in brown bottles” campaign. This campaign, aimed at defending workers in Québec’s largest breweries and to encourage more economical and ecological beer consumption, generated more than 90,000 video views, 4 million Web impressions and 3 million radio impressions.

For its part, the PSAC was awarded the prize for best social media campaign as part of its “Vote to stop the cuts” campaign. Aimed at defeating Stephen Harper’s Conservatives during the last federal election, this impactful message resonated strongly with Canadians all across the country, garnering more than 5 million video views and generating more than 226 million Web impressions. This campaign was singled out by the press and influencers throughout the Web.

“We’re very happy that our union partners won these prizes,” noted Marc Desnoyers, director of client services at Upperkut. “It’s evidence of the quality of their work as communicators, and we’re proud to have helped in the strategic, creative and media-related aspects of these fine campaigns. It’s also an honour for a Quebec-based agency to have won awards for a pan-Canadian campaign executed in English and French.”

A campaign to Vote to Stop the Cuts

A campaign to Vote to Stop the Cuts

This fall, Upperkut was mandated by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) to create a multi-platform campaign that would be deployed from coast to coast, just before the beginning of the official electoral campaign. The campaign was designed to alert Canadians about the consequences of re-electing the Conservative party.

Click here to see the microsite.

Creative was developed for radio, newspapers, billboards, and the Web.



In addition to benefiting from good visibility in traditional media, the campaign really stood out because of the emphasis placed on social media. Even though the campaign was aimed at all Canadians, it also targeted specific ridings and markets where particular issues were of greater local interest.

The agency used Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in order to target specific markets across Canada about specific issues.


With media placement of surgical precision in the first phase of the campaign, a video in English and French was viewed by more than 3 million people, in other words, one out of every ten Canadians.

Throughout the campaign, a great quantity of content was developed specifically for Facebook regarding particular issues, and the results were very convincing. With 300 million impressions, tens of thousands of “shares”, and thousands of comments on a variety of platforms, we succeeded in generating a real discussion about issues important to the PSAC.

In addition to excellent results on social media, the campaign was impactful enough to generate exceptional free media coverage, both in traditional media and on the Web.

The president of the PSAC, Robyn Benson, was vocal in her appreciation for Upperkut’s work on this campaign:

“It was a pleasure working with Upperkut. Their creative approach was fresh, innovative and outside the box. Vote to Stop the Cuts was a highly successful public communications campaign that resonated with our members and Canadians. As a union, it was important to work with an agency that shares our progressive values and understands the concerns of our members. We would highly recommend Upperkut to other unions.”

Click here and here to view the videos.

Long live beer in brown bottles!

Long live beer in brown bottles!

Teamsters Canada chose Upperkut to create and produce its latest campaign aimed at raising awareness about beer in brown bottles.

For Stéphane Lacroix, director of public relations for Teamsters Canada, a dialogue must be begun with the general public in Québec to raise awareness about the importance of making responsible choices when consuming beer.

“Brown beer bottles can be reutilized 17 times before being recycled. Contrary to aluminum cans, which too often end up in landfills, the brown bottle is a socially responsible and ecological container,” said Mr. Lacroix.

Mr. Lacroix indicated that the Teamsters chose Upperkut after a call for tenders because of the quality of the agency’s work, its proposed media strategy, its experience in public affairs and its knowledge of the union environment.

For Marc Desnoyers, director of client services at Upperkut, winning this latest mandate means that the agency has carved out an enviable position for itself among unions and other organizations wishing to have their voice heard in the public space. “Upperkut is an agency with a special expertise in public and social affairs. We’re proud to work together with clients who share our values of solidarity, social progress and environmental protection. Our objective is to allow organization that share these values to have access to communication strategies and creative product of the highest quality.

Quebecers can see and hear the campaign on the Web, on social media and on the radio during the holiday season.

Long live beer in brown bottles!

Vincent Vallières supports the FIQ in its “That’s enough.” campaign

Vincent Vallières supports the FIQ in its “That’s enough.” campaign

Montréal, November 24, 2014 – The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) teams up with the social communications agency Upperkut to launch its new campaign promoting the importance of healthcare professionals, featuring renowned singer-songwriter Vincent Vallières.

The fight for safe, high-quality healthcare as the “Barrette reform” dawns will be supported by one of the most admired voices on the contemporary cultural scene in Québec. Boasting 15 ADISQ nominations, three Félix awards, among them the soon-to-be classic On va s’aimer encore, Vincent Vallières collaborates with the FIQ to say “That’s enough. Caring for patients comes first.”

“When members of the FIQ asked me to help them, I said yes right away,” said Vallières, who can be seen on TV and the Web alongside Régine Laurent, president of the FIQ, in an awareness and mobilization campaign that appears on many platforms. The singer-songwriter, whose father is a nurse, is well aware that healthcare professionals give their hearts and souls every day to take care of patients.

It’s this desire to provide Quebecers with safe, high-quality healthcare services that is at the heart of the awareness campaign created by the social communications agency Upperkut.

In addition to TV, Vincent Vallières and the president of the FIQ can be heard on the radio. The FIQ campaign also appears on the Web, in social media, in outdoor advertising, and newspapers.


The Fédération represents nearly 65,000 professionals in nursing and cardiopulmonary care, the vast majority of them nurses, auxiliary nurses, respiratory therapists, and perfusionists working in public establishments in Québec. For more information:

Le Quartier des spectacles: experiencing culture in all its effervescence

Le Quartier des spectacles: experiencing culture in all its effervescence

The Quartier des spectacles is the cultural heart of Montreal. Its one square kilometre is home to more than 80 cultural venues, including 30 performance spaces, 40 festivals and events, and 8 vibrant public places.

Upperkut was given the mandate to create and produce promotional videos aimed at promoting events for upcoming seasons.

“The challenge in this project consisted of presenting all the eclectic richness of the Quartier’s programming, while never losing sight of the inventiveness that animates our client. At Upperkut,  we use all the new technologies of communication and the arts to stimulate our creativity, so we’re proud to help Montreal expand its presence, not only in Quebec, but throughout the world,” notes Marc Hallé, the agency’s studio director, producer and co-director of the videos.

12 months a year and almost every hour of the day, both Montrealers and visitors flock to its festivals, events, performance spaces and public places. Dazzling and bold in a unique urban landscape, the Quartier des spectacles is a must-visit destination to experience culture in all its effervescence.

The Nutcracker Market

The Nutcracker Market

The Nutcracker Market was set up in 2010 by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. Faithful to a European tradition that is now flourishing in North America, this “must-attend” event of the Holiday Season serves to fund the activities of the Nutcracker Fund for Children.

There you can find exclusive gifts in a fairy-tale atmosphere that recalls Tchaikovsky’s ballet that has enchanted audiences for more than a century.

As partners for 7 years with Les Grands Ballets, Upperkut was in at the beginning of the Nutcracker Market, choreographing all the communications activities of this event, from developing TV, poster and print campaigns to creating original positioning lines and its distinct graphic style, not to mention designing the environment of the Market that welcomed more than 35,000 people in its last edition.

Created specifically to raise funds for the Nutcracker Fund for Children, the 2013 edition raised more than $75,000 to help children from underprivileged neighbourhoods to participate in educational workshops and attend a presentation of the Nutcracker ballet, as well as assisting in the production of the show by allowing the restoring of sets and costumes.

Les Grands Ballets

Les Grands Ballets

Upperkut has worked with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal for nearly seven years. The agency has supported many communication initiatives for this great ballet company founded in 1957 by Ludmilla Chiriaef.

The agency participated in the development of the logo for the Grand Ballets and in the creation and production of advertising campaigns to launch seasonal programming, including the production of promotional videos for TV and social media.

“Obviously, the cultural sector has been subjected to immense financial pressure because of funding cuts. We have to double our creativity to develop original and efficient concepts that take into account these new financial imperatives. It’s a big challenge and a great honour to work for this great institution,” says Serge Leathead, president of the agency.

Upperkut was also responsible for the development of the Nutcracker Market and communication platforms for the last three funding galas for Les Grands Ballets, as well as creating the graphic platform for Dance Therapy.

Mosaïcultures: a growing success

Mosaïcultures: a growing success

More than 10 years after making its debut on the international stage, Montreal once again welcomed Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal 2013 to the Botanical Garden. With a theme of “The giants of the horticultural world are a cut above”, the event surpassed all its objectives in attracting more than 1 million people and injecting $35.3 million into the Quebec economy.

Upperkut developed the graphic signature, the event tagline, the advertising campaign, (posters and print), the graphic platform, signage, promotional products, as well as the website and social media.

At the same time an international competition, an exhibition and a performance of the horticultural art, the event was a fantastic success and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Quebec. “By the end of the event on November 15, we had attracted 1,015, 666 visitors,” Lise Huneault, director of communications and marketing for MIM 2013 proudly reports.

Traditionally, horticultural exhibitions attract a certain public. In our communications we highlighted the grandiose nature of the competition, in order to appeal to a larger audience,” revealed Serge Leathead, Upperkut’s president. “What’s more, we provided a special place for Frédéric Back’s work, L’homme qui plantait des arbres, one of mosaïcultures’ leading lights. Furthermore, Marc Hallé, Upperkut’s studio director, had the pleasure of working with Mr. Back, a few months before the great artist passed away at age 89. “It was a privilege to discuss with him the process of ideation while preparing a work, whether it be for film or advertising,” recalls this creative maestro, pleased to have contributed, along with his team, to the success of an event of this stature.

The not-for-profit organization Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal was created in 1998 to put on the first edition of Mosaïcultures Internationales. Its mission is to promote horticulture as an expression of the values of the new millenium and a significant element in the urban landscape.

L’Office de consultation publique de Montréal

L’Office de consultation publique de Montréal

For several years, Upperkut has collaborated with the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OPCM) to develop communications campaigns for the various public consultations it was mandated to undertake.

Recently, the organization requested the agency to create a communications campaign to celebrate the OPCM’s 10th anniversary, and to disseminate it on different platforms. “We are proud to work with the OPCM, because not only does it allow us the opportunity to reflect collectively on crucial urban issues, but as well to stimulate democratic participation. A real privilege for an agency as socially conscious as ours is,” says Serge Leathead, Upperkut’s president.

Over the years, the agency has created communications campaigns regarding the future of Griffintown with the theme “Regards sur l’avenir”, about the future of Old Montreal with the theme ” Faire du neuf avec le Vieux” (Out of the Old, something new), and on the place of urban agriculture with the theme ” Montréal, un avenir à cultiver” (Montreal: cultivating the future). This campaigns have been deployed in printed material, ads, flyers, websites, videos and special events.

Created in 2002 by the city of Montreal, the OPCM is an independent organization charged with surveying the general public about questions of urbanism and land-use planning.

Design Montréal Open House

Design Montréal Open House

Upperkut is proud to have participated for the first time in the Design Montréal Open House in May 2013. A host of Montrealers visited Upperkut’s award-winning offices, which created a buzz on 15,000 websites throughout the world, among them the renowned American magazine The Cool Hunter.

It’s thanks to the diverse talents of some 25,000 creative people that Montreal was designated a UNESCO City of Design. To honour this title, every two years a selection of renowned designers and architects open their doors to offer the public a view of their creative universe. This year, more than 110 addresses were opened to the general public.

Visitors benefited from this rare occasion to meet Upperkut’s enthusiastic team and to better understand how great ideas are born and developed on a daily basis.

In addition to being able to follow the creative course of some campaigns, the public was able to discuss them with agency and staff, see interactive presentations and attend theremin performances.  “We really appreciated these exchanges with Montrealers and design fans everywhere. It’s great to see to what extent this discipline truly nourishes creativity,” Marc Hallé, the studio director, tells us.

Upperkut launches a knock-out book on the future of boxing

Upperkut launches a knock-out book on the future of boxing

Passion. Determination. Cool. That’s what allowed Alexandre Choko — boxer, trainer, and fight promoter — to get exclusive interviews with 55 stars of the ring, among them Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson  and Joe Cortez, and to put together,  in collaboration with Upperkut, a stunning, 324-page coffee table book with 600 photos illustrating great moments in the history of professional boxing.

Upperkut’s mandate was to handle the artistic direction and the production of this immense project that took several months to complete. To write The Future of Boxing, the author travelled the globe for several years in order to meet with boxers, trainers, referees, and other major figures in the world of boxing.

For its part, Upperkut deployed an organizational strike force and set up a well-oiled production machine so that Choko’s dream could become a reality. The result packs a real punch. Fabulous photos, slick layouts, typography (named “Knock-out”) inspired by boxing posters both present and past, and a stunning souvenir box. Boxing fans and commentators were wowed. So was the client.

“When Alex Choko arrived in our offices one morning in 2011, we knew after a few minutes we were going to get onboard with this crazy project,” remembers a smiling Marc Hallé, Upperkut’s studio director, who directed the entire artistic team and supervised everything down to the smallest details.

“The client’s enthusiasm was infectious, and this larger-than-life project could not have been taken on by anybody else than this pillar of Quebec boxing,” recalls Serge Leathead, Upperkut’s president. “We already had significant experience with large-scale mandates, but I have to say that having the opportunity to work on a project that would allow us to shake hands with a legend like Jake LaMotta, the Raging Bull of Scorsese played by Robert de Niro, and even Sugar Ray Leonard, was impressive. All the more so because the agency bears the name of a boxing punch. We just had to jump into the ring, as it were.”

The Upperkut offices : dig our new digs

We were growing and needed to find larger premises that could house both the agency as well as space for audio and video production. Inspiration came in the form of a revelation: the basement of the St. Jean Baptiste church in the Plateau area of Montreal.

Heritage considerations as well as concerns about the acoustics of the office could have proved devilish problems. But designer Jean de Lessard came up with a divine solution, a minimalist approach to materials and a flamboyant use of colour. The result: strikingly simple and simply striking. And for his vision, he received his righteous reward, awards from the International Property Awards in London and Intérieurs Ferdie in Montreal.

In addition to offices, a graphic arts studio and meeting areas, we have at our disposal two huge multi-purpose spaces that allow us to cultivate our creative cult and shoot TV spots, promo videos and Web capsules, with a skeleton team and equally lean turnaround times.

Not to mention privileged access to the Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the huge show space of the church itself, that can accommodate up to 2,500 people. Everything we could pray for.

This Vendetta went on for years

For women who get their hair coloured in salons, a major irritant was that the colour faded too quickly. And Hell hath no fury like a woman whose colour has been scorned.

In 2007, Matrix launched a new line of products called Shade Memory that would prolong the colour of salon-coloured hair.

We tore our hair out to come up with a campaign that would really cut it with salon owners, hairstylists (especially at trade shows) and their clients.

What do women want most?


Social media : tools for tracking your footprints on the Web

I’ve been reading around different social media-related sources, and am finding that last year’s growing interest in measurement tools for word-of-mouth has bloomed into practicality. There is now an exponentially-increasing amount of tools to help track web PR or what some would call “virality” (altough the term is now somewhat obsolete), and even actual conversations on live micro-blogging applications such as Twitter, FriendFeed and the likes.

How Many Canadian Singles on Facebook?

People who are looking for a soul mate are in good company. Here’s a heads up for advertisers: Close to 1.8 million Canadian men and women list themselves as single on the most popular social network. From now on, those Don Juan party animals can put away the keys to their bachelor pads and find a match by buying advertising on Facebook to find their ideal mate.

Take a look at these telling numbers culled from Facebook today:

  • 1,752,080 people are single
  • 1,775,080 people are in relationships
  • 331,080 people are engaged
  • 1,775,160 people are married.

So, are Canadians faithful?

Well, 33% of Canadians prefer to be “discreet” about their marital status. As the saying goes, discretion is the greater part of valour. A friend who is a big Facebook fan recently experienced the true power of this social network. Feeling the sting of unrequited virtual love, he changed his profile before going to bed. From now on, he was going to be a bachelor! But common sense and pillow talk prevailed that night, so he changed his profile back again in the morning.

The problem is that his 267 “friends” had already received a “notice of change in marital status.” The end result? Twenty-three sympathy calls and two rather questionable propositions…

Oh Cupid, what have you done now?!

Facebook now twice as big as MySpace

Caroline McCarthy from CNET’s TheSocial blog writes about ComScore’s recent statistics, showing that the world-famous social networking site has nearly double the amount of traffic than MySpace.

(From TheSocial): “The blogosphere’s love affair with Facebook-MySpace traffic wars just won’t stop.

On Thursday, TechCrunch posted new statistics from ComScore that show Facebook now pulling in nearly twice as many unique visitors worldwide as its News Corp.-owned competitor.

About 222 million people visited Facebook worldwide in December (keep in mind that the social network pegs its active user count somewhere just north of 150 million these days) versus 125 million people for MySpace.

Read the full article here.