Tims’ holiday spot touts Canadian kindness

Who: Tim Hortons, with Gut Toronto for strategy and creative (The French Shop for Quebec); Rebolucion for production (directed by Sebastian López); Craft Public Relations for PR; Media.Monks and Horizon for media.

What: “A Nest in the North,” a new holiday campaign that the coffee chain says is inspired by shared values and traditions of “Canadians being kind to each other and making everyone feel welcomed and included.”

When & Where: The campaign is being led by a 60-second spot airing across TV and online. It also includes a children’s book that’s available for purchase at ANestInTheNorth.ca, with 100% of proceeds going to the UN Refugee Agency.

Why: Simply put, ’tis the season for big brands like Tim Hortons to put out warm-hearted holiday advertising. Tims definitely doesn’t need any help with awareness, but it’s a nice feel-good campaign around values like kindness and acceptance at a time when they’re prized.

And it’s been a while since Tims did heartwarming, with most of its recent work focused on products, promotions and Bieber.

How: The TV spot uses a goose to tell a metaphorical story of people being forced to leave their home under difficult circumstances before finally being welcomed by Canada. From the establishing shot of smoke and ash in the air, it feels like a subtle but clear reference to the approximately 7.5 million people who’ve fled Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

Soundtracked by British singer Andreya Triana’s song “It’s Gonna Be Alright,” the 60-second spot tells the story of a goose leaving its home and attempting to find a safe space, all while encountering hostile/unwelcoming birds like buzzards and parrots, before finally finding a welcome spot in Canada—which is, of course, represented by a Canada Goose.*

The accompanying children’s book, “A Nest in the North,” is written and illustrated by Veronika Kotyk, an illustrator and graphic designer who fled Ukraine for Canada in June. The book is being sold in both physical and digital formats for $15 and $5 respectively, with all money raised going to the UN Refugee Ageny. “I’m extremely grateful for the chance to share a story so close to my own personal experiences and the experiences of many others who were forced to leave their ‘nests’ for different reasons,” said Kotyk.

And we quote: “Our holiday campaign is inspired by the shared values and traditions of Canadians being kind to each other and making everyone feel welcomed and included. These values are never more relevant than during the holidays—kindness is a gift we all have in us to give.” — Hope Bagozzi, chief marketing officer, Tim Hortons

*On a personal note: Why did we as a country let the Canada Goose become emblematic of our ideals, when they’ve long been known as the “assholes of the sky” and “feathered dinosaur murder machines.” Seriously, how did these big jerks become so beloved?

Chris Powell