“It's a cultural thing: A strong opening in France has Paramount Pictures debuting Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's animated movie in the French-speaking Canadian province.”
That’s how the Hollywood Reporter announced back in 2011 the studio’s decision to hold the North American theatrical debut of ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ in Québec after having opened strongly in France and elsewhere in Europe.
It did not do very well in the US and the ROC although a sequel is apparently in the works.
Tintin and Quebeckers
Quebeckers’ love affair with Tintin is getting a boost this week with the release of the documentary ‘Au Québec avec Tintin” inspired by the book ‘Tintin et le Québec’ by Tristan Demers published in 2010. The documentary airing today on Télé-Québec takes a look at Tintin’s cultural and social impact in Québec through interviews with several Québec celebrities who were influenced by the character.
The documentary also reveals a little known-fact about Tintin; Quaker Oats introduced Tintin breakfast cereals in 1966. The brand was sold only in Québec and, according to an article in Le Magazine Maclean in March 1966 (yes, it was published in French back then before it was folded in L'actualité in 1976) the packaging was in French only when it was launched.
Much has changed over the past 50 years.
One major change that would have made Tintin’s adventure into sweetened breakfast cereals more challenging is Québec’s ban on advertising to children in 1980.
If the product advertised is consumed primarily by children and the advertisement uses fantasy, magic, or child-specific adventures, it cannot be aired during programming where more than 15% of the audience is children.
A study by Goldberg (1990) suggested that after its enactment in 1980, the Québec ban served to reduce children’s exposure to television commercials for sweetened cereals and consequently reduced children’s consumption of these products. Even though children were still exposed to American commercials, only the English-speaking Canadian children could recognize and were more aware of products that were advertised, such as toys and sweetened breakfast cereals, and had more of these in their homes than did French-speaking Canadian children. The French-speaking children were also less likely to urge their parents to purchase the advertised products.
Source: Goldberg ME. 1990 A quasi-experiment assessing the effectiveness of TV advertising directed at children. Journal of Marketing Research 27(4):445-454