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

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read