Canada is a nation that prides itself on love of hockey, that's built up an entire identity around evangelizing the rest of the world to their game. So it's strange to see them so oblivious to the rules of the game.
Granted, this new Tim Hortons ad, which shows Sidney Crosby hop the boards for a centre ice face-off only to be followed by pretty much the entirety of Canada (or the population of Prince Edward Island, at least), is pretty fantastic, and fantastically sweet. But it's an obvious too many men on the ice penalty. The moment this puck is dropped, that whistle's going to blow, and Canada is going to see their skaters trimmed from ALL to four:
I had more jokes, but, uh, I need a moment.
You'll forgive me if I'm a little moved. I'm Canadian. This commercial -- this awesome commercial was engineered specifically to get to me.
Love that final image, too:
Full credit to Tim Hortons, who may not know much about apostrophes, but they know what works in Canada. They consistently find ways to tug on the ol' Canadian heartstrings with their maudlin, hockey-themed ads.
And I do mean maudlin: seriously, this commercial was stirring enough without the coach nodding that one little kid over the boards. Why did that kid even sit down? Everyone else was flooding the ice. Just get out there, Jimmy.
But it's not just sheer sentimentality on display here. This new ad is actually part of an edgier marketing campaign. (Yes, edgier. This is Canada doing edgy.) Look at how Crosby looks like he really wants to win this face-off. He's marginally intimidating. That's acting, and it's a directorial choice. They told him to act like that. From the Globe & Mail:
“The whole relationship with hockey and how we’ve advertised it is really evolving,” said Rob Forbes, senior director of marketing and national programs at Tim Hortons.
While the change may seem subtle, it is based on consumer research pointing to a larger evolution in Canadian consumer sentiment.
Over the summer, the company’s ad agency, JWT Canada, did an online study of 900 Canadians to measure how we see ourselves. Combined with focus group research, the agency found that many of us feel Canadians should be less “apologetic” and more “assertive,” according to Doug Poad, vice-president and director of strategic planning at JWT.
We're seen as too apologetic? Huh. Sorry about that.
And sorry if we take gold in Sochi. Truly. Sorry.
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- Tim Hortons
- Sidney Crosby