Tim Hortons plays with words to support the Maple Leafs

The QSR turns ads into rallying cries as Toronto's sports teams enter playoff mode.


Tim Hortons’ roots with the Toronto Maple Leafs run deep, since it was founded by and named for one of its all-time greats. During the first round of the team’s run in this year’s NHL playoffs, it’s offering some words of encouragement.

Ads from the QSR are featuring a picture of a Boston cream donut next to a slight rearrangement of its name that also serves as a rallying cry during the Maple Leafs’ series against longtime rivals Boston Bruins: “Cream Boston.” The ads are appearing on OOH boards and in-store digital signage across the GTA, as well as on social media.

Ahead of the playoff series returning home to Toronto on Monday, the QSR’s signs were also made dark, except for the letters “T O.” The showing of hometown support is also being done in support of the Toronto Raptors, who are also in the midst of a playoff run.

The efforts, spearheaded by agency Zulu Alpha Kilo, might be paying off: the Maple Leafs went ahead in their series against the Bruins 2-1 after a win on Monday (the Raptors are down 1-0 against the Orlando Magic ahead of Game 2 tonight).

Team members in front of T.O. sign

This campaign is actually not the first time Tim Hortons has antagonized the Boston Bruins. During the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Montreal Canadiens were set to face the Boston Bruins in the second round, JWT Montreal released ads showing a bite taken out of a Boston cream donut, next to the words “Boston, on va les manger” (“Boston, we’ll eat them”).