Canada’s Tim Hortons To Have 3rd Party Ads

January 29, 2014 by Dave Haynes

Tim Hortons has officially confirmed it is rolling out a new digital network in some 2,200 of the iconic Canadian coffee/bake shop’s locations.

The announcement today comes on the heels of a soft announcement covered here earlier in the month, and the only real new news is that Tim’s TV will have third-party advertising, as sold by the advertising media wing of Cineplex.

Cineplex Digital Networks, aka EK3, will equip each participating Tim Hortons restaurant with the necessary equipment, providing network management and maintenance and repair services. EK3 has been the longtime service provider for the digital menus in Timmy’s, so this is a logical extension and it would have been doubtful the chain would want two different vendors in there. EK3 was acquired by Cineplex – Canada’s dominant movie chain – in 2013.

The digital out of home highway is riddled with the dessicating carcasses of media companies that have tried to make money selling advertising in the dining areas of QSR and fast casual restaurants. It has not, to my knowledge, worked anywhere as yet.

However, and it is a big however, this is different in that the network will have a national footprint in Canada and touch any of the markets a media planner might want to reach. The chain also has incredible loyalty.

Finally, while Cineplex is overwhelmingly a cinema company, it has a well established media sales wing that already sells retail media. Most of the media companies that have tried to build networks in burger and taco chains in the US didn’t have the capital backing to get a national footprint, didn’t have sufficient media experience, and were going into venues that made a lot of media people respond with “Yuck.”

There are definitely people who don’t drink Tim’s coffee, but it’s rare to run into people who look down on the places and would see the Timmy’s demographic as negative or limited.

Will ads work? We shall see.

Tim Hortons does a pile of community programs, and that alone is reason to have the screens to drive awareness and the feel-goods about the brand. If a little advertising pays the CAPEX and OPEX, that’s not a bad plan. I doubt ad revenue would be more than a rounding error in the eyes of the CFO.

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