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CANADA: All digital version of Tim Hortons iconic Roll Up contest 'where the world is headed'

For over 35 years, Canadians have used scissors, their teeth and other creative methods to roll the rims up on their coffee cups
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(Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

Not everybody is happy to hear that Tim Hortons' iconic Roll Up contest will be all-digital this year, but that's just "where the world is headed," according to a local marketing professor.

"For those of us in the older demographic, this is where it's going and you're not going to be able to fight it because it's coming like a wave," said NSCC's Ed McHugh.

"Apps and loyalty programs, making it convenient for [customers] using their phone."

For over 35 years, Canadians have used scissors, their teeth and other creative methods to roll the rims up on their coffee cups over the course of about four weeks every spring.

However, in recent years, calls to run a more environmentally-friendly contest have grown.

In 2020, the coffee chain aimed to run a hybrid promotion where cups would only be used for the first two weeks. Players would get a second entry if they went online or through the app. During the second two weeks of the contest all entries were to be digital.

However, the company had to change course once COVID ramped up and it ended up scrapping all of the cups, stating "Tim Hortons does not believe it's the right time for team members in our restaurants to collect rolled up tabs that have been in people's mouths."

This year, the red cups Canadians are used to seeing will no longer be a part of the contest.

And that's not the only change. 

Also gone this year, the dreaded but often seen "please play again" message as Tims promises "every roll is a winner."

"They've already done their market research," McHugh said.

"They're a smart company. They've done the analysis and what they've shown is they'll going to get more people jumping on board than will become disenfranchised and leave."

However, McHugh added the online version might not be as fun.

"There is something about playing a game," he said. "There's something about a contest where you physically do something and something pops out and you see it."

"Kind of like ... people want to buy a scratch-and-win ticket to scratch it and get that sensation of winning or losing. When you ask them to do it online, they say, meh.'"




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Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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