Tim Hortons has teamed up with pop superstar Justin Bieber to launch three new Timbit flavours — called Timbiebs — along with co-branded merchandise.
The celebrity endorsement deal marks a departure from the coffee and doughnut chain’s usual lineup of professional hockey players, a marketing strategy that could help attract a different demographic.
The partnership aligns with the Canadian singer’s frequent social media posts about the restaurant, which have ranged from snapshots of a holiday-themed Tims cup to complaints about a new lid.
“Doing a Tim Hortons collab has always been a dream of mine,” Bieber said in a statement. “I grew up on Tim Hortons and it’s always been something close to my heart.”
Hope Bagozzi, chief marketing officer for Tim Hortons, said Bieber’s genuine lifelong love of the brand made the collaboration authentic.
Indeed, the Stratford, Ont.-raised performer shared posts as far back as a decade ago about missing Tim Hortons while travelling outside Canada.
“Justin is so fervent in how much he loves Tims,” Bagozzi said in an interview. “That is the perfect recipe for a collaboration. It’s not forced.”
While hockey will “always be part of our DNA,” she said the celebrity partnership with Bieber will help reach new customers.
“It opens us up to a different audience and a different conversation beyond just hockey,” Bagozzi said. “Justin has wide appeal, but definitely does appeal to younger guests.”
Nabbing Bieber — one of the best-selling music artists of all time — represents a major coup for the chain.
The genesis of the collaboration can be traced back to 2019 when the superstar waded into a heated debate over Tim Hortons’ lid redesign by launching a poll on his Instagram account.
“That was the start of a conversation,” Bagozzi said. “He was quite keen to do something with us, so it’s been almost two years in the making.”
Given Timbits are one of his favourite menu items, the idea of coming up with new flavours was a natural fit, she said.
“He was super excited because that’s his go-to item,” Bagozzi said.
That led chef Tallis Voakes, director of culinary innovation for Tim Hortons, to experiment with different flavour combinations that were shared with Bieber.
The Timbiebs launch is being accompanied by two television commercials, in English and French, that feature the pop star brainstorming new Timbit flavours in an office boardroom. At one point he can be seen showing off his juggling skills using Timbits.
“We probably started with about 100 possibilities,” Bagozzi said. “We would send him samples to try and he was very specific on what he liked and didn’t like. It was months in the making to land on these three flavours.”
Tim Hortons will roll out the limited-edition Timbiebs Timbits in chocolate white fudge, sour cream chocolate chip, and birthday cake waffle on Nov. 29, exclusively in Canada and the United States.
The restaurant will also have three merchandise items for sale, with more details expected in the coming weeks.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2021.