Tim Hortons has supported Canada’s obsession with hockey at the community level for years, not to mention the countless coaches who likely fuel up with the chain’s coffee before practice or a game. Tim Horton himself was an NHL star before he got into the coffee and doughnuts business in 1964.
So it was natural then, after a franchisee dustup, for Tim Horton's and its agency, Zulu Alpha Kilo, to look to hockey as a way to reconnect. Not by supporting a local team, though. Instead, Tim Hortons began to support the Ice Lions, Kenya’s singular ice hockey team.
The company flew the Ice Lions to Canada for what was billed as their first match ever against another team. The Kenyans got to play with NHL stars Sidney Crosby and Nate MacKinnonn, and a number of videos were made for sharing on social media. “The Away Game,” as Zulu Alpha Kilo dubbed the effort, included a three-minute Facebook video, Instagram stories and other content. The campaign led to 8 million completed video views, a 100 percent increase in brand sentiment and a 3 percent increase in visits to the chain in the month after the video first aired.