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

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A member of the Vernon Search and Rescue winch helicopter team pulls a skier who broke her leg at the gorge backcountry area east of Sicamous into the helicopter on Friday March 5. (Shuswap Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Search and rescue helicopter helps injured skier out of Shuswap backcountry

The Salmon Arm woman broke her leg, but was helped out of the bush thanks to radio communication.

SASCU is looking to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a legacy project, in the same way the Shuswap credit union marked its 60th by commissioning the apple sculpture at its downtown location. That artwork includes 14 apples honouring SASCU’s founding families. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap credit union to mark 75th anniversary with legacy project

SASCU will be looking for input from arts community, city

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read