Ads will play up the emotional link customers have with the chain's coffee.
The challenge is "how do we make that love affair with Tim Hortons coffee grow," said Cathy Whelan Molloy, director-U.S. marketing and Canadian brand advertising for the 1,600-unit chain.
The campaign, now in development from Enterprise Creative Selling, Toronto, Hortons' longtime shop, will target people "on the move and on the go," she said.
It's slated to break in the core U.S. markets of Detroit, Buffalo and Columbus, Ohio. Sister WPP Group agency J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago, is providing some input and, with its Detroit office, handling U.S. media buying.
The company plans to back its 100 U.S. outlets with about $1 million to $2 million this year, up from the $800,000 spent to introduce the brand in its first TV effort last fall (AA, Sept. 29), Ms. Molloy said.
The chain also is about to roll out a new six-item line of lunch sandwiches, called Tim's Own. Made to order on bread baked in the restaurants, Tim's Own will be available chainwide by Sept. 7, with point-of-purchase support.
"When [Wendy's] first bought Tim Hortons, I was really impressed by how strong a market position it has in Canada," said Jeffrey Omohundro, a restaurant analyst with Wheat First Union.
"I became a believer in terms of how differentiated the concept is," he added.