La Presse+

Sustained Success (SILVER)

Client Credits: La Presse Limitée
La Presse
Michel Gagnon: Vice President Marketing
Christiane Dubé: Senior Director Marketing
Yves Lebon : Director, Digital Brand Strategies

Agency Credits: Cossette
Joanne Nantel : V.P. Client Lead
Nadja Décarie: Group Account Director, Account Services
Florence Girod: V.P. Strategic Planning
Antoine Bécotte: Chief Creative Officer
Barbara Jacques : Creative Director
Anik Ouellet : Associate Creative Director
Isabelle Allard : Art Director
Anne-Marie Clermont : Art Director
Claudie Grenier-Côté : Art Director
Élyse Noel de Tilly : Copywriter
Mélanie Delisle : Copywriter
Karine Bouchard : Copywriter
Mélissa Hébert : Strategic Planner
Emilie Dallaire : Director, Account Services
Léa Racioppi: Account Executive, Account Services
Tiffany N’Guyen: Account Executive, Account Services
Julie Courtemanche : Media Director
Steve Richer : Media Planner
Simon Garnaud: Media Digital Planner
Daniel Cartier : Retoucher
Nathalie Boucher : Computer graphics
Maxime Bluteau : Computer graphics
René Lachapelle : Retoucher
Sébastien Guy : Art Director
Simon Bugeaud : Digital production
Michael Aspiros : Digital production

Total 2148 Words


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):25 months (april 2013 to june 2015)
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: April 2013
Base Period as a Benchmark: Calendar 2013 to 2015

a) Overall Assessment

La Presse, keenly aware of the industry’s trends and seeking to secure its leadership role in the Francophone news publishing industry, decided to redefine the category and leapfrog its competitors. La Presse undertook the biggest—and riskiest —project of its history, a project that would transform the organization.


Across the world, the newspaper industry is suffering from the rapid growth of digital communications and a swiftly diminishing readership tied to adverse demographic trends. As a result of the continuous aging of baby boomers—traditional newspapers’ primary readers— global advertising revenue has fallen since the 2000’s. In other words, the entire industry is facing a crisis of momentous proportions.


Known for the quality of its content for the past 130 years, La Presse, the largest French-language daily in North America, has also been affected by the changes in readership brought on by the proliferation of media channels.

Understanding that the growth of tablet penetration rates are three times higher than smartphones, La Presse chose to revolutionize the newspaper industry by launching La Presse+, a unique, interactive, and free daily news app for tablets. Once downloaded and installed, each user receives a new edition every morning, complete with news, columns, chronicles, photos galleries, infographics, videos, and interactive ads. The app was designed from the ground up to deliver an unparalleled experience, distinctive from all other existing “newspaper-based” apps. La Presse sought to develop the world’s most intuitive and advanced news distribution platform filled with exclusive content, creating a new rituals for the digital age. This new era also includes a new way for advertisers to buy and to create interactive ads.


Following its highly successful launch, La Presse+ strived to continue reinventing itself and to demonstrate its value among occasional users and print subscribers. It also endeavoured to maintain, and even increase, its readership among digital news consumers and to change their content consumption habits.

In order to make this application a true success, Cossette and La Presse have elaborated an integrated two-year plan.


1. Make launch a true success: Reach a critical mass of readers in order to legitimately claim to be a mass media.

2. Ensure La Presse+ longevity: Pursue acquisition efforts and increase regular use.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

  • To become a mass media: insure a constant growth of the weekly readership
  • Familiarity: Year 1, raise consumer awareness of a platform combining in-depth content, interactivity and mobility.
  • Frequency: Year 2, increase the frequency of use among current subscribers to result in growth of the weekly readership.

c) Annual Media Budget
$4 - $5 million

d) Geographic Area

a) Analysis and Insight

In-depth consumer research has provided La Presse with a deeper understanding of news seekers’ motivations, habits and rituals. This research highlighted some considerable challenges to overcome.


Technological evolution has drastically changed the way information is consumed. The proliferation of content distribution platforms, the immediacy of news and free information have all profoundly changed newspaper readers’ habits. Those readers have gradually abandoned paper in favour of websites, which are more adapted to their lifestyle: more accessible, more up-to-date and more interactive in terms of content.

We’ve also noted there’s still a strong attachment to the paper version of La Presse among many regular readers who have developed a reading ritual over the years. Their reading behaviour was so anchored in their daily routines that getting them to switch to La Presse+ would be a huge challenge. The key to converting readers depends on our ability to convince them that La Presse+ includes everything they came to like about La Presse with extras, i.e. improved experience, access and content. And that it could easily be part of their current (or future) rituals.


In 2013, a new research study among La Presse+ readers informed us that most of them already had a digital routine. We also discovered two key elements essential to developing a new media consumption ritual: the media’s presence in their everyday life and the relevance of subjects covered. Readers were eager for tools that could act as a content curator to sift through the abundance of sources.

b) Communication Strategy


Segmentation based on the Rogers innovation curve

In order to establish the first phase of a strategy that would convince as many new readers as possible to download and read La Presse+, we segmented the market according to current readership status and tablet ownership, and to Rogers’ innovation adoption curve, which states that 15% of the population are innovators and early adopters. The early majority (34%) only tends to adopt a technology once it has been tested and adopted by their friends and/or opinion leaders.


The launch strategy was developed around a thorough understanding of the targets and their ability to integrate new technological behaviour into their information rituals. We first presented the new product to the innovators and early adopters—they have the technology (tablet), are comfortable with it and seek out innovation. They will become the product’s best ambassadors. In fall 2013 and winter 2014, the testimonial approach highlighting our new ambassadors made La Presse+ interesting to a second target, the “early majority” from Rogers’ curve. These consumers adopt innovation after their peers have actively embraced it. The goal was to celebrate the success and demonstrate that La Presse+ is now part of daily life. The standing and the normalization of La Presse+ had the potential to bring more people to the application. By explicitly showing the La Presse+ app’s features and added value, and by demystifying the app, we then targeted the “late majority,” indecisive consumers who had not really understood what the product was about.


Maximize product interaction

All initiatives and points of contact were designed to maximize product testing. Many product demonstrations were held across the province where early adopters were most likely to be found.


Sustained campaign

After raising brand awareness and building a user base, we turned our attention to building loyalty among digital subscribers by continuing to demonstrate the app’s value. Because of its uniqueness, it was crucial that our strategy be built around both the outstanding user experience and the high quality content. For this reason we developed a two pillars strategy:


  • Brand campaigns

In order to maintain the La Presse+ awareness, we continued the launch effort by creating value for the unique news experience offered by La Presse+ in different campaigns throughout the years.


  • Multiple content initiatives

To increase the points of contact and foster reader loyalty, we analyzed their tablet use and reading habits so as to become part of their daily routine and grab their attention at key moments. We chose a strategy that was flexible enough to be applied to different readers and different reading habits:

  • Daily content initiatives

We made sure there was a continuous presence with the daily content, to reach the readers with almost one campaign a day. Because we were aware we had to stand in the way of the potential digital news readers, we decided to seduce them with what they are really interested in; a daily high-quality curated content. So we developed La Presse+ exclusive and enriched content-only campaigns that aimed to integrate the daily digital routine of actual and potential readers. Media buying was done based on the daily digital media life cycle of the consumers. When relevant, we segmented the readers as much as possible and pushed the most pertinent daily subjects their way, as they are most likely to make them open La Presse+.


  • Long form dossiers promotion

La Presse+ has done regular special content in which one single topic has been presented through different angles and articles. We realised punctual 360 campaigns to truly enhance those specific topics and make people being intrigued by the subject.


The initiatives launched during the various campaigns were constantly reinvented, but maintained a common thread?clearly communicating the benefits of using a single platform. 

a) Media Used

  • Television
  • OOH (airport, super billboard, website takeovers, subway advertising, urban OOH, wild posting, Bixi)
  • Web (video placements, banners, homepage takeovers, Facebook ads, mobile banners, SEM)
  • Radio
  • Print (various formats)
  • Experiential and street activation
  • Promotional (glass, iPad cover, Christmas gift-wrap, etc.)
  • Email 

b) Creative Discussion

We chose an evocative name to launch the product, “La Presse+,” which represents the La Presse that we know and love, but with an enhanced value proposition. The colour palette was inspired by the colours of the newspaper’s different sections to create a sense of familiarity and continuity for the audience.

The power of the “+” symbol and the synergistic implementation of the visual platform across all components, from advertising to promotional items, were essential to quickly build awareness of the new medium.


Multiple creative pieces were produced on a multitude of channels. Different product characteristics were communicated, depending on the media used. All the campaign executions invited readers to download the application from the AppStore or, a site featuring a La Presse+ demonstration video and all the tools necessary to understand the product.


During year 2, we made the “+” evolved in order to solidify the La Presse+ identity. It still effectively communicates the product’s superiority and uniqueness as well as the enthusiasm this new platform generated. We kept on making the icon evolve, but we made the content and the outstanding user experience the real star of our communications.


Our deployment had been composed of a serie of multiple initiatives and specific on-going campaigns:


  • 360° campaign highlighting the unique news experience (“Il y a l'information qui se lit. Il y a l'information qui se vit.”) [News to be read. News to be experienced.])
  • Summer campaign to build loyalty among readers in transit (outdoor signage, at airports, etc.)
  • One-off content campaigns (TV, online, radio, La Presse network) with themes such as “What do Quebecers dream about?” (3 days, 1 subject)
  • Continuous display of web banners supporting the day’s content
  • Initiatives to demonstrate the benefits of La Presse+ to subscribers (newspaper insert, mailing, email, etc.)

Major experiential marketing campaign allowing the public to try La Presse+

c) Media Discussion

Since April 2013, we multiplied the touchpoints with potential readers and advertisers in order to make La Presse+ part of their everyday life. As La Presse is a media, we also benefit from a strong presence in its own media, i.e. the newspaper, website and phone app. A television presence was imperative and remain present for two years. A total of four brand TV spots and one promotional TV spot aired. Multiple OOH formats were also rolled out during campaigns deployments: signs, billboards, and takeovers at Montreal’s airport, Central Station and Place-des-Arts metro station. In order to reach our late majority, which is still strongly attached to the paper edition, we made our communications more personalized by sending them mail and reaching them in the paper edition. Radio spots and print ads in the paper edition completed the traditional media planning by allowing us to promote daily content and be flexible about the promotion of daily subjects of La Presse+.


A vast digital campaign remained constant for two years: banners, website takeovers, SEM,  and social media. Emails to La Presse ecosystem subscribers reminded them of La Presse+’s benefits, while also encouraging new La Presse+ readers to visit daily. Media buying was done based on the daily digital media life cycle of the consumers in order to increase daily openings. We also used programmatic buying and retargeting technology in order to better know the reader. We were able to link web consumption on a tablet to La Presse+ being opened. If it did not get opened, the pushed web banner was a La Presse+ targeted content with a direct link to the specific promoted articles inside the app. 

a) Sales/Share Results

N/A -  As the application is free of charge and the first on the market, results to be considered are in the consumption / usage results section.

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

  • During year 1, weekly readership reach more than 325 000 eyeballs.
  • Success has continued since the launch campaign in April 2013, as the number of readers increased 39% in the last year (April 2014 to April 2015) to reach more than 450,000. Moreover, the overall strategy allowed La Presse to recruit new readers as 14% of those using the product had never read La Presse in any form previously.
  • Monthly readers now reach 600,000.


c) Other Pertinent Results

  • In only two years, La Presse+ became a Quebec digital leader.
  • In 2014–2015, advertising clients increased 97%.
  • La Presse+ sold its technological platform to the Toronto Star in November 2014.
  • La Presse completely shifted its business model—the majority of ad revenues now comes from the La Presse+ app, not from the newspaper. 

d) Return on Investment


Source: Estimates based on the number of unique tablets having opened at least one edition over the course of the first week of each month (Localytics, 154,000 tablets during the week of September 30, 2013, 217,631 tablets during the week of March 31, 2014, 254,791 tablets during the week of September 29, 2014, 302,638 tablets during the week of March 30,2015, multiplied by the coefficient of 1.5 readers per tablet (CROP, June 2014)).

a) General Discussion

La Presse+ was an all-new product. Before the communication efforts, La Presse+ (or even the general project idea) was completely unknown. The product benefited from wide media coverage, as well as the overall communications strategy.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:




Distribution Changes:


Unusual Promotional Activity:


Other Potential Causes: