Canada's Marketers Celebrate Olympics

Marketing Magazine Chronicles Daily Rollout of Ads From Tim Hortons' Tearjerker to Bell's 2,000 Spots

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NEW YORK ( -- Canada's ad industry is as focused on the Olympic Games in Vancouver as the athletes are.

From Toronto, Marketing magazine, one of Ad Age's international partners, is chronicling the daily rollout of Olympic advertising.

Bombardier: Keep the Flame Burning

In one ad by Taxi, Bombardier, the company that designed the 12,000 Olympic torches, demonstrates that they are weatherproof even in wintry Canada. The spot starts in a remote corner of Chile, where an old man attempts to light his pipe, but it's too windy. Candles and fires won't light. Finally, a family sitting around the dinner table watches the Olympic torch travel through a blowing snow storm, and it stays lit. The old man is still trying to light his pipe. "That's what you need," says his wife, referring to the torch.

In an Olympic feat of advertising, Bell has bought air time for more than 2,000 commercials during the Winter Games, and its ad agencies are creating 24 English-language and 23 French-language TV spots. Rick Seifeddine, Bell's VP-brand, told Marketing that the ad buys are part of an "anti-fatigue strategy" because people could get bored if they have to watch the same commercial 2,000 times.

The spots appear to sell Canadian niceness as well as Bell's mobile and internet products. Some of them feature Canadians watching sports with people from other countries. In "Canada Hosts Sweden," a couple and three Swedish visitors watch a hockey game together and take pictures of themselves using a Bell mobile phone.

Tim Horton's
One tear-worthy spot that caught the eyes of Marketing's bloggers was from Tim Hortons. "Welcome Home" from JWT debuted during coverage of the Olympic opening ceremonies last Friday.

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The 90-second spot follows a man as he prepares for the arrival of his wife and two kids. It seems the family has been separated for some time, and after a tearful reunion at the airport, the man hands his wife a cup of Tim Hortons coffee and welcomes her to Canada -- along with the winter coats they'll need for their snowy new home.

It's the latest installment in the coffee chain's "Every Cup" series that highlights its connection with its customers. Tim Hortons launched in November 2008 to give consumers a place to tell their stories and upload videos and pictures. To date, the site has seen over 4,600 submissions.

Canadians can also participate in Wrigley Canada's financial support for Canadian athletes by chewing more gum. Wrigley is donating a portion of Excel, Extra and Juicy Fruit gum sales to the athletes, and the amount raised is updated every 60 seconds on giant digital billboards. Each pack of gum features an image of a Canadian athlete, and, with awesome attention to detail, Wrigley has added a teeny Canadian maple leaf to individual gum pieces.

See more of Marketing's Olympic advertising stories at

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