Tim Hortons has teamed up with pop superstar Justin Bieber to launch three new flavors of Timbit, called Timbiebs, along with co-branded products.
The celebrity endorsement deal marks a departure from the coffee and donut chain’s usual lineup of professional hockey players, a marketing ploy that could attract new customers.
“It helps them attract a younger demographic, which is something they desperately need to do,” said retail analyst Bruce Winder. “Justin Bieber is a good opportunity to connect with Gen Z and young millennials.”
It could also help Tim Hortons build brand awareness in the United States, where the restaurant faces stiff competition from chains like Dunkin ‘Donuts and Starbucks.
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“The United States is a very busy coffee market and Tim Hortons has struggled there,” Winder said. “Justin Bieber is hugely popular in the US, so this might help them.”
The association aligns with the Canadian singer’s frequent social media posts about the restaurant, ranging from snapshots of a Christmas-themed Tims mug to complaints about a new lid.
The Stratford, Ontario-raised artist has shared posts for a decade about missing Tim Hortons while traveling outside of Canada.
“Doing a collaboration with Tim Hortons has always been a dream for me,” Bieber said in a statement. “I grew up in Tim Hortons and he has always been close to my heart.”
Hope Bagozzi, Tim Hortons chief marketing officer, said her “genuine love and commitment” to the brand made the collaboration authentic.
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“Justin is so fervent about how much he loves Tims,” Bagozzi said in an interview. “That is the perfect recipe for a collaboration. It is not forced. “
While hockey “will always be part of our DNA,” he said the celebrity association with Bieber will help reach new customers.
“It opens us up to a different audience and a different conversation beyond hockey,” Bagozzi said. “Justin has great appeal, but he definitely draws younger guests.”
Catching Bieber, one of the best-selling music artists of all time, represents a huge blow to the network.
But it is not the first time that Tim Hortons collaborates with a Canadian musician.
In 2019, the company partnered with Pickering, Ontario, singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes ahead of his sold-out stadium show in Toronto in September. The campaign, with the theme Home is where the heart, included limited edition glasses.
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The genesis of Tim Hortons collaboration with Justin Bieber began only a few months later. The superstar got into a heated debate over Tim Hortons’ cap redesign by launching a poll on his Instagram account in December 2019.
“That was the beginning of a conversation,” Bagozzi said. “I really wanted to do something with us, so it’s been almost two years in the making.”
He declined to comment on the cost of the collaboration, but called it a “worthwhile investment.”
The association comes at a time when many musicians have spent months with the ability to tour or perform in front of large crowds.
While retail expert Winder said Bieber has likely lost revenue due to pandemic restrictions preventing big shows, he noted that the singer just released an album in March.
“You could argue that Tim Hortons may have had to shell out more because Justin Bieber is a much bigger and more mainstream star,” he said. “But he has so much money from his success, I don’t think this is really a question of money for him. You are getting paid, but the motivation may be more than tugging at your heartstrings and reminding you of where you grew up. “
The Timbiebs launch is accompanied by two television commercials, in English and French, featuring the pop star brainstorming new flavors of Timbit in an office boardroom.
“We probably started with about 100 possibilities,” Bagozzi said. “We sent him samples to try and he was very specific about what he liked and what he didn’t like. It took months of preparation to land on these three flavors “.
Tim Hortons will launch limited edition Timbiebs Timbits in white chocolate fudge, chocolate chip sour cream and birthday cake waffle on November 29, exclusively in Canada and the United States.
The restaurant will also have three merchandise items for sale, with more details expected in the coming weeks.
© 2021 The Canadian Press