Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Always Fresh

Recently the coffee chain Tim Horton's has been running a commercial informing that their coffee is always fresh; never older than twenty minutes regardless of the time of the day. I worked in a Timmy's store for three and a half years, and I can testify this is a well-adhered policy.

However, I took notice how most of the people featured in the commercial are not the typical people I worked with in my time with the chain. You see, the spokespeople in the ad are women in their mid-twenties, with the exception of two individuals, of even complexion and lovely smiles, good enunciation; clearly they were models. I write to state they were very few people I encountered who were like that.

A greater number were either old or teenagers; not beautiful people who looked out of place behind a coffee counter. These were people who were either using Timmy's as a stepping stone or worked there because their friends did. For the older people, seniors or others in their thirties, they worked there because they had to; society wasn't giving them too much options. Either their pensions weren't cutting it for them or they were part of the strata that didn't succeed with their dreams after high school. I worked with a number of immigrants whose English wouldn't have allowed them to be spokespersons for Tim Horton's.

In the scheme of Canadian advertising Tim Horton's commercials are quite good. I once read that the chain has used the same media agency from Day One. They are now moving into social branding -- capitalizing on the social networking universe of Facebook and MySpace. They are not corny like McCains were for so long a time (it was getting to the point I would have leave the room when a McCains French fries ad came on). In 2007 Strategy Magazine wrote that "Canadians consider Tim Hortons a definitive Canadian brand, with values they can relate to, such as inclusiveness, honesty and approachability. The brand's social strategy is a reflection of these values." I believe this to be the case. Yet, you are now likely to walk into a Tim Horton's store, regardless of location, and be greeted by someone under seventeen years. The labour market, particulairly in the West, is not there (although that might change with the present recession). It is in this respect that I don't think Timmy's has been honest. I guess, drawing on this demographic, they will always be fresh.


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