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Let Me Bite Into Tim Biebs

Brilliant. And I don’t use that word often.

Tim Hortons, in an effort to reclaim its Canadian roots, and to reach a younger demographic, has teamed up with Justin Bieber, a Canadian who owns a world stage, to launch three new Timbit flavours — called Tim Biebs, along with co-branded merchandise.

It’s a far departure from wrapping the brand in hockey sticks and Maple Leaf’s and one that reflects a marketing department that is in the know. Justin Bieber has a social media platform that has an audience that is more robust in terms of size and engagement than all other Canadian media combined. In turn, Bieber has frequently posted about Tim Horton’s – not always good, but as they often say – all publicity is good publicity.

Bieber is also a master of his brand and the persona he brings to the content shows a side of him is less star stuck and more ‘Canadian’. With his humility and humour.

The name Tim Biebs is a great play on words and one that reminds me of the work Pepsi did when they signed Michael Bublé to represent their Bubbles brand and he couldn’t understand why they messed up the spelling of his name.

Celebrity endorsement has always been a go-to strategy for brands starving for attention. And today in this age of noise, where too much and too many are chasing too little time, it is becoming more common. The challenge is for the brand not to be lost in the spotlight of the celebrity, and to work with celebrities who reflect the essence and values of the brand. That might sound simple, but it isn’t.

You are dealing with egos, the danger of surrendering your brand to an individual who might in an instant surrender their moral compass, and storytelling where the celerity must be passionate about the brand versus just doing it for the money.

What I am increasingly fascinated about is the celebrities who have shifted from singing for their supper, in terms of endorsing brands, to owning their own brands. Ryan Reynolds with Aviation America Gin, Jessica Alba with the Honest Company, Will Smith with Fancy, Dr. Dre and Beats, and many more. They don’t just get paid for their audience; they own it.

What matters most to you:

  1. Understand your brand and go beyond what you believe is your unique selling proposition to a higher emotional value. Why do you matter?

  2. Build your narrative based on the emotions you create, versus the function you provide.

  3. Quality first, quantity second. Many celebrities have built a massive following by being controversial, by creating social posts that capture attention. Numbers are important but finding the celebrities that reflect your brands, that are passionate about being part of your journey to create positive emotions are worth their weight in Tim Biebs.


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