Tim Hortons has ‘modernized’ its annual winter promotion to allow for sustainable ways to play, but that’s not how students see it.
Tim Hortons has revamped its iconic “Roll Up the Rim to Win” campaign in efforts to become more environmentally conscious.
The usual 10-week long promotion will run for four weeks this year, from March 11 until April 7, delaying its typical February start time.
To kick off the month-long contest, Tim Hortons will be giving away 1.8 million reusable hot beverage cups free of charge on March 10 as part of the company’s “10-year commitment to change consumer perceptions and habits towards using reusable cups,” as stated in a Feb. 19 press release.
One Ryerson student views the cup give-away as a poor attempt to distract consumers from the core issue.
“If sustainability was actually what they were going for, they would stop having plastic cups and lids altogether,” said third-year RTA new media student, Juan Carranza.
Carranza points out that the company’s initiatives are limited to the month-long promotion and is exclusive to hot beverages.
“If you buy an iced cap for example, you can’t bring a reusable cup. There’s a lot of drinks they [Tim Hortons] won’t make in a reusable cup or they’ll measure the drink out in the disposable cup and pour it out,” he said.
The changes came after the company received environmental backlash last year for its ample amounts of single-use plastic that significantly increased during the contest.
In a 2018 audit, Tim Hortons was named the second-worst plastic pollution contributor in Canada, beating both McDonald’s and the Coca-Cola Company.
The altered campaign will now offer up to three chances to win, but only with the use of a reusable cup and a Tims Rewards card, registered either online or on the mobile app.
If guests use a non-registered rewards card with their purchase, the rolls will still accumulate on the card but can only be accessed if they register their card before April 21.
Following along so far? Here is where it gets a little confusing.
For the first two weeks of the promotion, Tims will be using its signature roll-up disposable cups, giving customers one physical roll and one digital roll by scanning their rewards card or app.
For the remaining two weeks, regular disposable cups will be used allowing one digital roll.
Lastly, for the entire four-week duration, customers will receive three digital rolls by bringing a reusable cup.
Here is a visual of the weekly contest breakdown.
|Contest Weeks||Buying a Hot Beverage||Rolls|
|Week 1||Roll Up the Rim cup only||1 roll (on cup)|
|Week 2||Roll Up the Rim cup + Tim Hortons app||2 rolls (cup + app)|
|Week 3||Regular cup + Tim Hortons app||1 roll (on the app)|
|Week 4||Reusable cup + Tim Hortons app||3 rolls (on the app)|
Another Ryerson student believes the revamp is nothing more than another tactic to receive brand exposure.
“I don’t understand how that’s [the revamp] being sustainable more than it is just a marketing scheme to get people to think they’re moving towards being more eco-friendly,” said third-year business management student Maisam Ibrahimi.
“To me, it’s really just about downloading their app to give them [Tim Hortons] more digital traffic.”
In addition to these changes, Tim Hortons has “retired” the Please Play Again message by replacing it with an entry into one of four $100,000 draws.
The company’s press release reads: “To be eligible, guests must scan their registered Tims Rewards card when purchasing a hot beverage and reveal a non-winning digital roll. Paper cups that do not reveal a prize will encourage guests to use the Tim Hortons app next time for their chance to win $100,000.”
Some of this year’s prizes include 10 Hyundai IONIQ Electric vehicles, 200 Samsung TVs and 100 $1,000 prepaid CIBC cards.