Tim Hortons places Raptors superfan in the limelight

A mini-documentary about Nav Bhatia explores inclusivity and the Canadian spirit.

For evidence that Tim Hortons has hockey in its blood, one need only look at the many spots it has launched over the last year.

But with the Toronto Raptors now in the NBA Finals for the first time in the team’s history, and the NHL playoffs officially over, the company is using the opportunity to remind customers that it has been more quietly sponsoring Canada’s sole NBA team for more than 20 years.

The coffee and donut chain claims its dedication to the sport is outmatched only by Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia, who has held the same courtside seat during every home game at Scotiabank Arena for the last 24 years. So Tim’s placed what is likely Canada’s most recognizable sports fan in the country at the centre of a new commercial, led by agency Gut, that launched on time for Game six of the NBA Finals on June 13.

The mini-documentary named “Courtside Seat A12” (after the seat Bhatia has held for the last who-knows-how-many games) shares the man’s story and touches on themes of “passion, inclusivity and the true Canadian spirit,” according to the company.

The video, which has been posted on YouTube, explores Bhatia’s dedication to the Raptors and the many ways he feels he is perceived by basketball fans around the world. “Some see Indian, some see Canadian, some see both,” he says. “Some see a turban.” However, he hopes people see “diversity and loyalty” and “why Canada is so special.”

“Nav Bhatia embodies Tim Hortons brand values of inclusion and diversity, so no one better than him to share an inspiring message about this historic moment for Toronto Raptors and Canada,” explained Paloma Azulay, global head of creative excellence at Tim Hortons, in a press release about the campaign.

In addition to the spot, Tim Hortons and the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco will host a viewing party for Game Six of the Finals in San Francisco, which kicks off this evening. The chain will hand out coffee and merchandise during the now sold-out viewing party.

North Strategic is supporting the campaign through PR efforts.