Friday, March 5, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Tim Hortons, the debate

If you watched the Canadian feed of the Olympics coverage last weekend you saw a Tim Horton's commercial called Welcome Home that was said to have been "based on a true story".

It featured a new Canadian family with a heart wrenching tale of a family reuniting at the airport, seeing snow for the first time and being greeted with a parka and a cup of Tim Horton's coffee.

Wednesday night Mark Kelley's producers at CBCNew's Connect contacted me to come on and talk about it. The commercial is featured in the interview segment. (It has been removed from YouTube by Tim Horton's)

My point was that JWT, the producing agency, probably shouldn't have tagged it as such, but that you couldn't deny the commercial was extremely well done. Tim Horton's took a little bit of flack for this, but overall their image continues to be almost bullet proof.

Let's look at their recent history. I made the point that it's now common practice in Canada for marketers to "double brand". With the percentage of new Canadians to "legacy Canadians", rising every day it's imperative that advertisers speak to both. Tim Horton's has fostered an image of tolerance, acceptance and universal "Canadianism" over the last few years with well thought out commercials like this one. "Proud Father"

I especially like the part in this "Sid the kid" commercial where they blend Syd's current voice with his boyhood voice.

Should Tim Horton's and JWT have labeled "Welcome Home" as "based on a true story"? No. The lesson learned; don't muddy up exceptional work with inaccuracies. Let great work stand on its' own.

Coming up Monday, Part 3 in the highlight series from The Art of Marketing series held this week in Toronto. Have a great weekend.

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