How Tim Hortons Is Failing (And Molson Is Winning) Real Time Marketing As Canada Goes For Gold

Tim Hortons vs Molson in Real Time Marketing Battle

Tim Hortons vs Molson in Real Time Marketing Battle

[twitter]Real time marketing is the new way for brands to gain traction from the outside. You don’t have to spend millions to own the creative chatter about ads after the Super Bowl (JC Penney, Oreo) and you don’t need to be an official Olympic sponsor to get chatter during the games.

You just need to be paying attention.

Big events (Oscars, Super Bowl, etc) are times when American marketing watch dogs hover on the social networks to see who is doing it right, and who is doing it wrong. When it comes to Canadian branding, we don’t have the same sort of criticism hovering over the industry because, well, they often just don’t try (look at our Super Bowl commercials).

Case in point? The huge semi-final hockey game between Canada and the US. It was an event most of the country was, frankly, watching from work. They were watching online with browser tabs open, and social networks at the ready.

One iconic Canadian brand has recognized the chance to cheer on Team Canada and has gained immense amount of brand traction, while another has been asleep at the tweet switch.

I get that it is easy for me to snark on the social media sidelines, but this kind of marketing is cheap, effective, and instant. It should be an automatic for all iconic Canadian brands to be jumping on this bandwagon, regardless of official affiliation.

The image on the top left was the first tweet from Tim Hortons in more than 4 hours. They posted it after the game, without referencing the game. The image on the right was from Molson, just one of a series of viral images they’ve had during the games on Facebook and twitter.

Tim Hortons is getting killed in real time marketing here. Destroyed. When it would be sooooo easy for them to win.

Can you imagine a rim rolled up that revealed “Gold Medal Game. Sunday. Early.”?

What time is the gold medal game? Really early.

Tim’s sells fricking COFFEE. People will want coffee to wake up at 4a or 5a or 7a to watch the game.

Maybe a fresh pot of coffee on a burner with a grease pencil that says “Puck drop Sunday at 5a. Don’t worry, we’ll be open.”

Canadian goalies have served up 2 shutouts in the games so far. Donuts, if you will. How about just a simple scoreboard that showed 1-0 with the 0 represented by a donut and “See you early Sunday morning. Go Canada Go.”

You don’t need to mention Olympics. You don’t need to mention Sochi. You don’t need to violate any brand sponsorship rules. You just need to be paying attention, see your chance to attach your brand to nationalism, and ride the viral wave of love from the nation – like Molson has been doing.

Aside: did you know the famous beer fridge in Canada House that everyone has been raving about doesn’t actually have Molson beer in it? According to my sources, Russian officials wouldn’t let it in the country, so you can scan your passport and get … Heineken or MGD. But nobody’s talking about that – they’re just talking about the fridge and Molson is getting all the credit.



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  1. John Hender
    February 21, 2014

    Yet Tim Horton’s post has more RTs and Favorites than Molson. So how is Tim Horton’s failing?

  2. February 21, 2014

    That Tim’s tweet had nothing to do with the hockey game. Molson, on the other hand, has been owning Facebook, which is a much more effective place to have sharing of the images they are producing.

  3. Fred
    February 22, 2014

    Just one more way Tim’s is failing. This comes on the heels of the menu rejigging announcement. Less and less reason to patronize them. Sad to see Canada’s iconic coffee shop bite the dust.

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