It's Canada Day and you're enjoying a cold one at the local brasserie in Montreal, but don't expect to see the trademark Maple Leaf on the bottle of Bleue you're drinking.
It's just one example of how, when it comes to using national symbols to market consumer products, companies often treat Canada as deux nations.
Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd. proudly displays the Maple Leaf on every bottle of beer it sells in Canada -- except in Quebec.
Brewing giant Molson Inc. barely bothers to market its flagship Canadian brand in Quebec.
And ad writers in many other fields of business routinely replace the word Canada with more general references to pays when translating their marketing slogans for any kind of product into the French language.
Advertisers know that Canadian symbols don't resonate well with a large portion of the population of Quebec, and have been known sometimes to avoid them altogether in their marketing endeavours in la belle province.
Even though developing Quebec-specific branding might cost a little more, some companies feel it's worth the expense if it means Quebec sovereigntists won't associate bad feelings with their products.
"Approximately half of the population of Quebec are separatists. And waving a red Canadian flag would not win them over," said Karl Moore, a business professor at McGill University.
It's a subtlety advertisers might pay even more attention to after Monday's federal election in which the Bloc Québécois took 54 of 75 seats in the province, reinvigorating the sovereignty movement.
Labatt spokesman Nigel Miller said the brewery came up with a distinct Quebec label for Bleue about 15 years ago.
"If you go back to that point in time, there were sensitivities in Quebec with respect to broad-based Canadian icons, and we just haven't changed the logo," Mr. Miller said.
On bottles of Bleue sold in Quebec, the Maple Leaf is replaced with a stylized red sheaf of wheat, which Labatt calls its symbol of "brewing quality."
Labatt has traditionally developed two distinct ad campaigns -- one for English Canada and one for Quebec. Labatt is looking to develop co-ordinated marketing campaigns, Mr. Miller said, but the Maple Leaf/sheaf-of-wheat dichotomy will likely remain.
In an unusual twist, the Maple Leaf is more prominent on bottles of Blue sold in the United States by Labatt, a subsidiary of Belgian brewing giant Interbrew SA. And the U.S. bottle loudly proclaims itself as the Canadian Pilsener.
"The fact that [Blue]comes from Canada is an important selling point for our U.S. beer drinkers," he said.
In the Quebec market, Molson spends most of its marketing dollars on its Molson Dry brand, instead of Canadian, which is the main brew in the rest of the country.
Jordan Le Bel, a professor of marketing at Concordia University, said that because Molson is based in Quebec, the company would pay special heed not to market products in a way that would annoy part of its "home" consumer base.
After all, the Canadian brand is marketed in English Canadian advertising with symbols of Canadian nationalism.
Winona, Ont.-based E.D. Smith & Sons Ltd. incorporates the Maple leaf into the packaging on its jams, syrups and pie fillings to show that it is a Canadian company.
But the Maple Leaf isn't present on its Habitant brand of jams, which is sold only in Quebec. E.D. Smith licenses the Habitant brand from another company because that brand does so well in the province.
Not all advertisers are concerned about trumpeting their Canadian-ness in Quebec.
McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Ltd., which uses a Maple Leaf on its corporate logo in this country, is in the process of adding the Maple Leaf to all product packaging used in Canada -- including Quebec.
McDonald's says it uses the Maple Leaf so customers can distinguish between campaigns and specials available in Canada versus those only available in the United States.
Cadbury Schweppes Canada Inc. recently conducted focus groups in a marketing effort to learn about how customers think about its various brands. Cadbury found that perception of the Canada Dry brand was as strong in Quebec as in the rest of Canada.
"There's no issue related to the name or the positioning of the product," said Rob Hindley, who does public relations work for Cadbury Beverages.
Meanwhile, there are examples of companies that use symbols of Quebec inside the province, but not in English Canada.
Kraft Canada Inc., for example, sells its P'tit-Québec brand of cheese only in that province. Kraft says it developed the mild cheese because Quebeckers like softer tasting cheeses than people in the rest of Canada.
Farmer-owned Agropur Cooperative Agro-Alimentaire of Granby, Que., markets its milk as Québon in Quebec but under the Sealtest banner in Ontario and British Columbia.
And Procter & Gamble Inc. says it will not likely mention St. Jean Baptiste Day when it develops a television ad based on an event affiliated with the provincial holiday, which celebrates all things Quebec.
At St. Jean Baptiste festivities last week in Granby, Que., P&G filmed an ad to show that a single bottle of Dawn "ultra formula" dish detergent could clean all the plates used to serve a 15,000-egg omelette.
English and French versions of the ad are scheduled to run in the fall, but there won't likely be any references to the Quebec holiday. A P&G spokeswoman said it is more important that the ads focus on the giant omelette and the attributes of its detergent brand.