Ah! Ha! We’re still talking about it 20 years later

Client: Familiprix
Ah! Ha! Familiprix
12 x 0:15
  • Creative
  • Strategy
  • Production
  • Out-of-home
  • Print
  • Video

Campaign for the Quebec French market only

“This campaign stirred the market to the extent that the number one player felt the need to launch a response campaign to the message. Not long after, others followed suit. In addition to achieving its objective, the message activated the entire category—that’s the power of great creative work!”

Jean-François Bernier
Creator and director of the campaign Alfred

At the time, there was a dominant player in Quebec, and pharmacies engaged in very little brand advertising. While campaigns were limited to a few radio ads or promotional flyers, Familiprix wanted to conquer the Montreal market and establish itself provincially with high-impact advertising.

Becoming the obvious choice

In a saturated market, where it’s difficult to differentiate one’s offering, the goal was to get people to understand that Familiprix is the go-to place whenever a need arises. Behind this strategy lay a plan for revitalizing and expanding the network, intended to generate interest among new pharmacists.

With short, naturally acted scenes from life, a touch of humour and a charismatic character, we had the perfect recipe for successfully fulfilling our dual mandate: on the one hand, to increase top-of-mind awareness among the public, and on the other, to extend the benefits to independent pharmacist-owners within the network who have the freedom to choose between pharmacy brands.

To comply with advertising regulations in the category, it was impossible to advertise as a pharmacy. Codes were therefore developed to ensure effective understanding, notably the famous white lab coat.

A huge commercial success

“The campaign deviated so significantly from the conventional norms of pharmacy advertising that, from the very first days, people were writing to us to tell us about it. To the point where it made us doubt for a moment. But within a few weeks, everyone around us was talking about it and the media picked up on the campaign. We knew we had a great popular success on our hands.”

André Rhéaume
Vice-President, Marketing Familiprix

The campaign captured the public’s interest. After more than 40 variations, phenomenal media coverage and awards at Cannes and across the industry, the Ah! Ha! Familiprix has become part of popular culture. And even after 20 years, we still think of it spontaneously.

The message also served as an accelerator for the network’s pharmacists. Its popularity encouraged them to open new branches in Montreal, resulting in a positive impact on sales and the network’s expansion. Furthermore, the campaign played a significant role in motivating pharmacists to choose this pharmacy banner, now benefiting from considerable recognition. From just a handful of Familiprix stores in Montreal before the campaign, the number soared to 100 in just five years.

In 2021, the Journal de Québec, a popular local media, asked Quebecers which advertisements had made the biggest impression on them. Nearly 20 years after its first run, Familiprix ranked at the top of the list.