FILE – Signage for Tim Hortons is seen outside a Tim Hortons restaurant in Toronto, Friday, March 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

FILE – Signage for Tim Hortons is seen outside a Tim Hortons restaurant in Toronto, Friday, March 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Tim Hortons trims rim from iconic contest with all-digital ‘Roll Up to Win’

Usual prize pool of free coffees, donuts, electronics and vehicles has been expanded

One of Canada’s most recognized marketing campaigns is going fully digital as Tim Hortons swaps out printed messages under rolled up coffee rims for scanning a loyalty card or app.

The chain’s annual spring prize contest is now simply Roll up to Win – rather than Roll Up The Rim To Win – eliminating the fiddly work of rolling up a coffee cup rim with your hands or teeth to reveal a message like “win donut.”

Customers will now scan the Tim Hortons app on their smartphone at the time of purchase to earn a “roll” that could reveal a prize like “free donut,” or scan a loyalty card and later log into the contest’s website to see the rolls and prizes they’ve earned.

“This is such an iconic game,” said Hope Bagozzi, Tim Hortons chief marketing officer in an interview. “Even though it’s changing, we think it’s evolving to be even stronger and we hope guests will love it in its new iteration.”

Tim Hortons has added new menu items to the campaign, with cold beverages and breakfast sandwiches now eligible for prizes in addition to hot drinks.

The usual prize pool of free coffees, donuts, electronics and vehicles has also been expanded to include subscriptions to streaming services and reusable mugs – part of the company’s efforts to increase the sustainability of the contest.

Indeed, the new digital contest addresses past criticism that even customers with reusable mugs had to take a paper cup in order to play.

Meanwhile, Tim Hortons has retired the dreaded “please play again” message. Instead, the company said every roll is a winner, including reward points that can be collected and redeemed for almost anything you can buy at the fast-food restaurant.

Still, while the coffee chain said the rebranded campaign comes with more chances to win and the largest prize pool in its 36-year history, it’s also expecting the changes could take some getting used to for its most ardent fans.

Last year’s campaign kicked off just as the pandemic started and was quickly shifted digital to prevent staff from having to collect rims that had been in people’s mouths.

This served as a transition for customers, Bagozzi said.

“People had to adjust to the fact that their beloved tabs had gone away,” she said.

“It’s sort of a tradition. People are so used to rolling it up with their teeth or had different ways of doing it, so last year was an adjustment.”

Indeed, the rim-based contest was so popular it sparked the most Canadian of inventions – a coffee cup rim-rolling device known as the Rimroller – featured on CBC’s “Dragon’s Den.”

The interactive element hasn’t completely disappeared, Bagozzi said.

“We’ve designed the actual experience in the app to be fun,” she said. “We’ve made it as visceral as we can to mimic the experience of the tab. So there will be sort of a sensation and a noise.”

Tim Hortons parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. said last week one-third of adult Canadians currently use the coffee chain’s loyalty program.

RBI chief corporate officer Duncan Fulton said the chain’s loyalty program gives the company a “powerful marketing tool” to be able to better tailor offers to customers.

“It allows us to send more targeted offers to people in the future that are more in keeping with what they like,” Bagozzi said. “It gives us the knowledge … to make it more relevant for Canadians.”

The contest will run March 8 to April 4, with an additional two weeks at the end to accept the prizes within the app or website.

READ MORE: Canadians launch petition urging Tim Hortons to remove freshly cracked eggs from breakfast sandwiches

READ MORE: In bid to win market share, Tim Hortons modernizing drive-thrus, upgrading menu items

Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Tim Hortons

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
Aggressive bus passenger arrested in Saanich for uttering threats

Suspect had outstanding warrant for assault at bus stop, two assaults on BC Transit buses

(Pixabay photo)
New program to provide recovery beds for at-risk Greater Victoria youth

It will aim to meet ‘health and social’ needs of wide range of youth

Pacific Coastal Airline flights 8P1543 on Feb. 22 and 8P1538 on Feb. 24 had cased of COVID-19 onboard, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. (Pacific Coastal Airlines photo)
Two flights between Kelowna and Victoria report COVID-19 exposures

Pacific Coastal Airlines flights on Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 affected

Sgt. Sandrine Perry in the Oak Bay Police Department interview room that has been softened with household features to better accommodate survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay police interview room gets a makeover

Room made less daunting for victims of trauma

A health-care worker looks at a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province, Monday, March 1, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Nearly 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Canada this week: Anand

Anita Anand says she’s received assurances from the vaccine manufacturer

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria both have a MySafe machine to help reduce overdoses

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Dr. Amit Desai of St. Francis Hospital receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
B.C. has now vaccinated more people from COVID-19 than total confirmed cases

B.C. has reached a milestone, vaccinating roughly 1.6% of its population from the coronavirus

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Vancouver Island sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Nanaimo store, cutting himself in the process

Riverside Calvary Church in Walnut Grove. (Langley Advance Times file)
B.C. is ‘stereotyping’ churches as riskier for COVID than other spaces, lawyer argues

Judge said that freedom of expression, religion are not at issue in the case

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent comes first and last for B.C. industrial projects

Environment minister can still approve permits without consent

Most Read