Tim Hortons – a great Canadian brand?

Strategy should be commended for arranging some excellent speakers for its 'Brand Building at Warp Speed' conference held in Toronto March 29 to 30. Sergio Zyman, Alan Middleton and Scott Davis, to name a few, all left me with great stimulus...

Strategy should be commended for arranging some excellent speakers for its ‘Brand Building at Warp Speed’ conference held in Toronto March 29 to 30. Sergio Zyman, Alan Middleton and Scott Davis, to name a few, all left me with great stimulus for future planning.

One session in particular, ‘Brilliant Creative for Breakthrough Branding,’ gave me lots to think about. Moderated by Geoffrey Roche, it featured a panel of well respected individuals from both client and creative sides.

One of the questions presented to the panel was ‘What do you consider to be great Canadian brands?’ Brands mentioned were MAC Cosmetics, Club Monaco and Roots. I would argue if one asked this question to folks in Elliot Lake, Blind River, Dartmouth or Regina, I don’t think the majority would even know that MAC or Club Monaco had Canadian heritage.

When the question of whether Tim Hortons is a great Canadian brand was asked, there was much debate.The answers given were opinions on its advertising versus if it was a great Canadian brand.

I spoke to a few panel members after the session to further discuss their opinions. Each ended with the suggestion that we find a different agency. I am embarrassed to say I did not defend our work with Enterprise Creative Selling as passionately as I should have. In typical Canadian – or, should I say, understated Tim Hortons – fashion, I thanked them for their comments.

The great part about the feedback is that it has only incensed the marketer in me and reaffirmed my commitment to the direction the Tim Hortons business and brand is taking.

We have had an 11-year partnership with Enterprise Creative Selling. Under the creative leadership of Paul Wales and Darcy Maloney, we continue to develop better creative that strikes a relevant chord with our customers – our target audience – and contributes to the bottom line. Enterprise understands our business and our goals as a retail client. Our success in the QSR segment, and as a business overall, is something we are all incredibly proud about.

Our collective job, to quote Sergio Zyman in part, is ‘to sell more stuff to more people,’ and to ensure that we protect and grow the Tim Hortons brand.

Our advertising goal is to connect with our customers. Our focus has never been on winning awards, or developing advertising that appeals to creative directors in urban centres who don’t even drink our coffee. And it works just fine this way.

My public thanks to the Tim Hortons team at Enterprise Creative Selling and Excelerator Media for their great work, and for understanding our business.

Cathy Whelan Molloy

VP, Brand Advertising & Merchandising

The TDL Group Ltd.

(Tim Hortons)

Oakville, Ont.