CANADA MORNING POST (TORONTO)
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A match made in marketing heaven between Tim Hortons and Justin Bieber is back with a new French vanilla-flavoured chilled coffee.
Biebs Brew is the pop star’s rendition of the coffee chain’s cold brew coffee launched last year.
Tim Hortons said the beverage is inspired by his “slight sweet tooth” and “love for hints of delicious vanilla flavouring in his coffee.”
The coffee is cold steeped for 16 hours to enhance the flavour, while the French vanilla syrup gives it a sweet and creamy taste, the company said.
Biebs Brew will be released next month alongside a limited-edition, stainless steel tumbler co-created by the Canadian performer.
“Every brand under the sun is doing these collaborations with celebrities now,” said Avni Shah, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
“It’s becoming much more efficient and productive than traditional advertising.”
She pointed out that the singer has 236 million followers on Instagram, compared with Tim Hortons’ 456,000 followers.
“With just one post he reaches so many millions of people,” Shah said. “It’s just so much more productive than advertising on a billboard.”
The latest product collaboration comes after the meteoric success of the first phase of the celebrity endorsement deal last November.
At that time, Tim Hortons introduced new limited-time flavours of the bite-sized Timbits doughnuts, dubbed Timbiebs, and co-branded merchandise.
The items — a tote bag, a beanie hat and a fanny pack — sold out quickly and turned up online with resellers asking thousands of dollars.
“We had lineups outside of restaurants,” said Hope Bagozzi, chief marketing officer for Tim Hortons. “Kids would go on their lunch hour from school and be lined up around the building.”
The fact that the Timbiebs products were only available for a limited time increased the buzz, Shah said.
“It created a sense of scarcity and drove demand,” she said. “It also helped generate word-of-mouth advertising online.”
Meanwhile, the restaurant’s loyalty program Tims Rewards provides the company data on which customers bought Timbiebs and the accompanying merchandise.
While the collaboration did “over index with a younger guest” customers of all ages scooped up the Timbiebs products, Bagozzi said.
Marketing experts say part of the advantage of teaming up with Bieber is to appeal to a younger demographic.
Jose Cil, CEO of Tim Hortons’ parent company Restaurant Brands International, said earlier this month that the first part of the collaboration beat the company’s expectations.
The reprise of the celebrity endorsement deal is expected to boost sales of the restaurant’s cold brew, which Tim Hortons launched in 2021.
At the time, the company said guests could enjoy the beverage various ways, including with “smooth and velvety Vanilla Cream.” It’s unclear how that flavour is different from the new French vanilla-flavoured Biebs Brew.
The partnership between Tim Hortons and Bieber aligns with the Canadian singer’s frequent social media posts about the restaurant.
The Stratford, Ont.-raised performer has shared posts as far back as a decade ago about missing Tim Hortons while travelling outside Canada.
“Doing a Tim Hortons collab had always been a dream of mine,” Justin Bieber said in a statement. “I grew up on Tim Hortons and it’s always been something close to my heart.”
He added: “We couldn’t stop at Timbiebs, we needed a Biebs Brew too.”
Successful brand collaborations involve a celebrity that already has an interest in the brand, which gives the partnership an authentic feel, Shah said.
“It works because Justin Bieber is a Canadian guy who played hockey and grew up with Tim Hortons,” she said. “If he teamed up with Dunkin’ Donuts it just wouldn’t be the same.”
Biebs Brew will be available at Tims restaurants across Canada and the U.S. on June 6. The stainless steel tumblers will only be available in Canada.
The company is also bringing back Timbiebs Timbits in chocolate white fudge, sour cream chocolate chip, and birthday cake waffle for a limited time.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.
Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press