Roll up the Rim: even losers are winners


I was watching my boyfriend’s hockey game the other night and began chatting with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. One of them was drinking a Tim Hortons coffee and as soon as she finished, she did what every other Tim Hortons drinker does during this time of the year. She rolled up the rim. And she lost.

I have to admit that I am a dedicated Timmy’s girl. On those days where I feel like the world is crashing in on me, I know that my large coffee with one milk will make me feel better. That’s why I get excited during the Roll up the Rim season because it gives me another excuse to buy myself a coffee. I still have yet to win anything this year.

But when my friend discovered she’d lost, another girl piped up and told us about this new promotion that Country Style was doing: if you bring them your losing rim, they will give you a free coffee.

Despite my loyalty to the great Tim Horton, I decided to check this thing out because a free coffee didn’t sound bad to me! Unfortunately, I discovered that the promotion only lasted for a week, from March 3 to March 9. However, the whole thing got me thinking. Is this type of promotion respectable or a little too sneaky?

According to one article, Country Style engaged in public relations and media relations campaigns to get the message of this promotion out to coffee drinkers. Their tagline is: “It’s going to be a good day,” so they wanted to let the disappointed Tim Hortons drinkers aware that if they lose, they can have a good day by making the trip to Country Style. Some of the other tactics they used included viral marketing, Facebook postings, e-mail initiatives, print ads and some spots on radio morning shows.

Is piggybacking on a competitor’s promotion in order to gain some of their customers a legitimate method to increase your market? I actually think it’s a very clever tactic and I commend the people that came up with the idea. Yes, the Roll up the Rim contest encourages people to buy more cups of coffee and I’m a prime example of this. It was just last year that I was buying coffee two to three times a day in hopes of winning the big prize. But along with this comes the frustration that is experienced when you spend so much more money at the store and don’t win anything.

Why can’t another store take advantage of that in order to encourage people to at least try their product? Perhaps people are so attached to the Tim Hortons brand that they don’t even think about trying anything different. I’ve never bought a coffee from Country Style but if I had known about the promotion sooner I wouldn’t have hesitated to bring them my losing cup. Maybe I would have enjoyed the coffee and perhaps that might encourage me to go to Country Style more often.

But, I missed the bandwagon so now we’ll never know. Tim Hortons is still my first choice but maybe one day when I’m feeling a little risky I’ll try Country Style—even if I need to pay for it!

What are your thoughts on this style of promotion?

March 16, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I had no idea about this, Colleen. Very cool.

    I think Country Style was pretty smart in its strategy. The company took advantage of an existing market and great idea, and went somewhere new with it. Country Style didn’t launch its own roll up the rim-type initiative, but created its own twist. Not only that, it embraced new media promotions, which–let’s face it–is rarely done.

    Overall, I’m really impressed with the whole story. And, I think it was necessary because of the company’s re-branding. I’m interested to see how things will continue to pan out for Country Style.

    P.S. Tim Hortons coffee is really bad! : )

    Comment by Rayanne Langdon | March 16, 2008

  2. Colleen,

    I agree with you. Good on Country Style for thinking outside the box and trying to get noticed during Tim Hortons hugely successful campaign. Coffee Time knows that they can’t compete with Tim Hortons during their ‘Roll Up The Rim’ campaign, unless they give away free product.

    The only thing I would be worried about if I were Country Style is the sustainability of their counter-campaign. Firstly, how long can Country Style afford to give away free coffee for? And secondly, are they really changing peoples behaviours? Their coffee is going to have to be pretty good to get people to switch from Timmy’s to Country Style after just one cup. I would bet that as soon as ‘Roll Up The Rim’ was over, so to would Country Styles inflation in customers.

    Comment by mgesposito | March 16, 2008

  3. Hey Rayanne: I agree that Country Style’s action was necessary for their re-branding as well. The article I got most of the information from began by saying that Country Style is rebranding more than 350 stores across Ontario so clearly they needed to do something that would get coffee drinkers attention. Whether or not people agree with what they’re doing, it did get attention so kudos to them for that!

    Oh and to respond to your P.S – Tim Hortons has amazing coffee; it’s addictive! Or maybe the brand is addictive, I don’t know! 😛

    Marc: I wouldn’t worry about the sustainability factor simply because Country Style only gave away free coffee from March 3 to March 9. I’d definitely be worried if they tried to pull this thing off for the entire time Tim Hortons does Roll up the Rim because there would definitely be issues with that.

    I think what they were trying to do was entice people to come try their coffee. It could very well be good coffee but nobody will know that if they don’t try it. But like I said, I love Tim Hortons and would find it difficult to be persuaded to give it up completely for a competitor. But I’m not against trying! 🙂

    Comment by Colleen Monks | March 19, 2008

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