The Situation

With more automotive brands advertising their respective electric vehicles in Quebec, Canada’s largest EV market by volume, standing apart from the increasing category noise has become more difficult. Volkswagen is a smaller brand in Canada, without the marketing budgets to compete on share-of-voice alone. The main objective of the campaign was to build awareness of Volkswagen’s first all-electric vehicle in Canada – the ID.4. Key performance indicators were familiarity, consideration, purchase intent, and sales.

63,000 people tune in in the middle of the night

Most-watched live shows on Noovo
Top 6
Awareness of Volkswagen as an EV brand
Volkswagen’s share of the Quebec EV market

The Big Idea

In Quebec, many TV networks stop broadcasting during the late hours of the night. One of these networks, popular entertainment channel NOOVO, has never broadcasted anything between the hours of 2 AM and 6 AM in its history.

Locals in Quebec call this off-air time “Sans Émission”, which translates to “No broadcast signal”. But “Sans Émission” also has a second meaning: “No gas emissions”, in reference to electric vehicles.

Playing with the double meaning of “Sans Émission”, we partnered with Noovo to turn their unused airtime into a first of its kind media stunt: a 4-hour long comedy special starring comedian Pier-Luc Funk and a charging Volkswagen EV.

The Strategy

We exploited channel Noovo’s unused 2 AM to 6 AM time slot on September 16th to create a new media space. The resulting 4-hour long broadcast was equal parts entertainment for a late-night TV audience and information for EV intenders. It was also Canada's first 4-hour long commercial/TV show.

To ensure maximum viewership, a comprehensive media plan was executed before and after the show's airing. Our media plan and campaign messaging focused on comedian Pier-Luc Funk – making it look like a major Quebec celebrity was launching his latest TV show. Campaign assets counted down to the premiere date and highlighted the unusual overnight time block to build excitement and FOMO (fear of missing out).

After the premiere, it was cut into bite-sized streaming episodes for those who missed the initial broadcast. Viewers could click out directly to Volkswagen’s website to learn more about the ID.4.

OOH Volkswagen Sans Émission
Social Volkswagen Sans Émission
PR Volkswagen Sans Émission

The Execution

Every year, at the start of the fall TV season, television networks launch marketing campaigns to promote the shows they believe will become the biggest hits. Quebec audiences look for these campaigns to discover hot new shows.

Quebec networks all follow a similar launch playbook for these campaigns. So, we launched Volkswagen’s Sans Émission the exact same way. This included:

• Billboards counting down to our premiere on September 16th. These were strategically placed in Montreal’s arts and entertainment district near other billboards promoting TV shows.

• 15-second TV promos aired in rotation with other commercials promoting new shows.

• A listing for Sans Émission in the TV guide (TV and online).

• Social media teaser posts from Noovo, Volkswagen, Pier-Luc Funk, and entertainment pundits.

• A radio show PR tour for Pier-Luc to promote Sans Émission.

Afterwards, the show was cut down into smaller episodes and made available for streaming on

A successful campaign

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
Use of Channel Integration
Prix Idéa
Content Creation

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We are steadfast in our belief that marketing and media creativity needs to be constantly redefined. Because we are emboldened by the ever-more meaningful, memorable and impactful connections this creates between a brand and its audiences. And most importantly, because it drives business success.