Tim Hortons releases a ‘welcome back’ spot as lockdowns are lifted

Who: Tim Hortons, with Zulu Alpha Kilo, Horizon Media for media, OPC/4ZERO1 for production and Eggplant for music.

What: “Come as You Are,” a new ad campaign about welcoming Canadians back to Tim Hortons stores as the economy starts to slowly reopen from the COVID lockdown.

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, running online and TV with additional social executions.

Why: Because it’s been a tough few months, and people are finally able to resume some of their old routines as stay-at-home directives continue to ease. Tim Hortons is telling customers two things: no matter how rough the lockdown has been on you, you’re welcome back at its stores, and it has adapted to ensure that visiting its stores will be safe.

How: The TV spot shows a montage of the common but relatively minor hardships people have endured since mid-March: from DIY haircuts, to the trials and tribulations of homeschooling, as well as the significant moments like finally being able to reconnect with other people.

There are also some matter-of-fact depictions of store employees wearing the masks that will be required for some time. The ad closes with an employee delivering a friendly “Welcome to Tim Hortons” expression, despite being behind a face mask and plexiglass. The “new normal” as they say.

“Our intent was to authentically capture this moment in Canadians’ lives,” said Wain Choi, executive creative director at Zulu Alpha Kilo, in a release?

How was it shot? ZAK says this is one of the first ads shot during quarantine. Shot with OPC, the crew was smaller than normal and adhered to social distancing protocols. “The talent who appeared physically close had to have isolated together. Even the wardrobe had to be the talent’s own clothes. From the director to the artist who wrote the music, it was a Canadian production and the result is a piece that feels true to Tims,” said Choi.

Was Wayne Gretzky involved at all? That’s weird. No.

Has Wayne Gretzky done anything with Tim Hortons lately? Oh yes. The Great One and the Great One Sr. were just featured in an ad released for Father’s Day.


David Brown