Tim Hortons grabs a hot chocolate with Canadian pop sensation Shawn Mendes

Who: Tim Hortons, Canadian pop star Shawn Mendes, GUT Miami, Anonymous Content (production), School Editing, Alter Ego, Fort York, Boombox (sound design).

What: “Home is Where the Heart Is,” a celebration of Mendes’ Pickering, Ont. roots (which included visits to Tim Hortons, of course). It includes a short film and a line of limited-edition cups featuring Mendes’ likeness, the roses from his 2018 self-titled album, and the Maple Leaf. Tim Hortons is also selling a line of re-usable ceramic cups.

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When & Where: The campaign is timed to coincide with Mendes’ sold-out show at the Rogers Centre in Toronto next week. The video is on YouTube, while the cups will be available at Tim Hortons from Aug. 30 through Sept. 6 or while supplies last.

Why: Because Mendes is kind of a big deal, especially among the younger Canadians who could become future Tim Hortons’ customers. The 21-year-old star has more than 23 million followers on Twitter and more then 50 million followers on Instagram—where an abbreviated version of the “Home is Where the Heart Is” video racked up more than 400,000 views within 30 minutes of being posted.

According to Tim’s global head of creative excellence Paloma Azula, Mendes is a “great and modern representation” of the company’s values, generosity and kindness. “He has had such a deep personal relationship with Tim Hortons since his childhood, and now we are proud to share his Canadian origins with the world,” she said.

Aligning with a global pop star, albeit a Canadian one, feels unusual for Tim Hortons, which has traditionally relied on sports and stories about everyday Canadians to drive its message. The spot does double (double) down on the sentimentality, though, so it’s not entirely different.

How: The film chronicles Mendes’ journey from humble beginnings in Pickering, just east of Toronto, to global stardom. It features a voiceover by Mendes coupled with snippets of homemade videos showing him performing, all accompanied by a score that builds from a simple piano melody to a full-on soundscape.

The film opens on a young version of Shawn Mendes ordering a hot chocolate, and ends with him returning to his favourite coffee shop. “I was just a kid from Pickering, Ontario. I never forget where I came from,” he says. “Some things never change.”

Marketers really like Shawn Mendes: Earlier this year, Roots partnered with Mendes on the “Roots x Shawn Mendes” clothing line, featuring a hoodie, sweatpants, T-shirts, a toque and jacket with artistic elements from his most recent album. He has also signed endorsement deals with Emporio Armani, Calvin Klein and Smile Direct Club.

That helped Mendes become the youngest member of Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 list (No. 98) with US$38 million in pre-tax earnings between June 2018 and June 2019. Grossing a reported $700,000 on every tour stop might have had something to do with it, too.

And we quote: “I’m so excited to launch this incredible campaign with Tim Hortons in celebration of my homecoming Toronto show. Tims has been a part of my life since before I can remember, and I’m so proud to share my love for this Canadian tradition.”—Shawn Mendes.



Chris Powell