Tim Hortons shows camp is more than fun and games

This year's Camp Day campaign features an anthem penned by campers that speaks to the life skills they've developed.

Tim Hortons is driving home the transformative impact of its Foundation Camps in order to counter perceptions that attending camp is just a recreational experience.

The 30th anniversary of the QSR’s Camp Day is approaching on Wednesday, and the QSR is reminding consumers that its camps are year-long occasions that also include leadership camps and postsecondary preparedness initiatives, rather than simply canoeing and horseplay.

The “Not Child’s Play” campaign, created by AOR Gut, amplifies this message, as do participants and counselors speaking to their experiences for the first time – or rather, singing about them. There’s an accompanying anthem of the same name, directly written and sung by current and former Tims Camp participants that tells the story of the camp experience, as well as showing all the benefits it has had once they return home.

On Camp Day, all proceeds from sales of hot and iced coffee will be donated to support Tim Hortons Foundation Camps. Customers can also purchase a $2 Camp Day motivational bracelet available in one of four colours with 100% of net proceeds donated directly to Tims Camps.

Tim Hortons’ Solange Bernard, head of marketing communications, says Camp Day is one of the most important campaigns the QSR does, both from a brand standpoint and for the Foundation. As it prepared for this year’s campaign, its insights showed there is broad awareness of Camp Day, but digging deeper revealed that consumers typically are not as aware of the camp experience itself – namely, its ability to change lives and how experience helps youngsters achieve their potential. 

“We found out that people didn’t understand how impactful the camps really were,” she says. While previous campaigns have also put the focus on the impacts of going to camp, Bernard says this year’s more direct rallying cry about camp not just being a recreational activity is meant to set the record straight about Foundation Camps.


Bernard tells strategy it is going for broad reach with the campaign, with paid media targeting adults 25-54. “Not Child’s Play” is running on TV, social, radio and OOH.

Mighty Hive handled the digital media buy, with Horizon handling traditional.