Tim Hortons sets a new tone of empowerment for Camp Day

Who: Tim Hortons, with Gut for creative and strategy, MightyHive for digital media, and Horizon for traditional media.

What: “Not child’s play,” an extensive integrated ad campaign for Camp Day (July 21) intended to drive donations by increasing the understanding of just how impactful Tim Hortons Foundation Camps can be on the lives of young attendees.

When & Where: The campaign went live July 7 and runs through July 21. It has a lot of pieces, but is anchored by a 60-second online video cut down for TV, along with digital, traditional and digital out-of-home, radio and streaming audio like Spotify, where the campaign song (more below) can be purchased, with all proceeds to Camp Day.

Why: Tim Hortons research showed high awareness of Camp Day—when all proceeds from hot and cold coffee sales go to Tim Hortons Foundation Camps. But there’s far less understanding of the important ways the Camps can change the lives of participating youth.

“We knew we needed to change those perceptions,” said Solange Bernard, head of marketing communications for Tim Hortons. “We knew we needed to really transform the idea that Tims Camps are just fun and games.” The Tim Hortons Foundation Camps offer multi-year leadership development for kids 12-16 who wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to go to camp.

“That really was the brief: Turn this around, change perceptions, deepen awareness, deepen the understanding of the profound impact that camps have on local youth,” said Bernard.

How: Tim Hortons and Gut worked with kids and counsellors from Tim Hortons Foundation Camps, who talked about how the Camps changed them and made them feel more confident and empowered, said Bernard. Those stories were used to write the song, which was preformed by actual Campers and is featured in the advertising. “My camp story is all about fight,” sings one of the performers. “It’s all about rise, and it’s all about might; a place to become, and design my life.”

“Having them tell their stories was an amazing part of the campaign,” said Bernard. “This really ties back to a new framework that we’ve introduced at Tims, which is all about authenticity and sharing real stories.”

What does this mean to Tim Hortons:  “This really is the heartbeat of our brand,” said Bernard. “It’s such an amazing part of our brand DNA to give back to communities and to support local youth.”

And we quote: “This is a real shift in terms of the tone—a tone of empowerment and something that will break through. We really needed to shift and do something that was maybe a little bit surprising, a little bit different, very much in line with how we’re shifting the Tims brand to modernize it and be a little bit more contemporary.” — Solange Bernard, head of marketing communications, Tim Hortons

David Brown