Tim Hortons telling true stories in brand campaign from new agency

Who: Tim Hortons and GUT (yes, GUT)

What: A TV campaign that connects Canada’s coffee store to feel-good “true story” moments of some of its customers.

When & Where: National TV and online, starting today online and on TV Dec. 5. Running through 2019.

How: Six spots that portray “true stories” from real people. The first ad, “Little man with a big heart,” is about a young boy who wants his mom to pay for the people in the car behind them in the drive-thru. Mom says she doesn’t have the money and little boy offers a $20-bill his grandfather had given him. The ad blends narration from the real people with actor recreations.

Our take: Things haven’t gone so smoothly for the iconic Canadian brand since it was taken over by 3G’s Restaurant Brands International. The intent here seems to be to remind consumers that Tim Hortons is still the preferred choice for good Canadian people, doing good Canadian things.

And we quote: “These new Tims True Stories will sometimes make you cry or they’ll make you laugh, but most of all, they bring Canadian values to life.” —Paloma Azulay, global creative head, Tim Hortons.

But what’s GUT?: Glad you asked. GUT is an new-ish independent agency formed by two former co-founders of David, based in Miami and Buenos Aires. David gets credit for a lot of the big award-winning work for Burger King in recent years, including two Cannes Grand Prix. Burger King is, of course, a sister business of Tim Hortons within RBI.

At least the director is Canadian: It’s Tamir Moscovici of Spy Films. Here’s his take: “We have blended cinematic re-enactment with popular docu-style on-camera interviews of real Canadians sharing their passion for one of Canada’s most iconic brands. As a Canadian, it’s an honour getting to refresh and revisit a campaign like True Stories and share these heartwarming moments.” -David Brown

David Brown