Friday, 21 October 2011


It arrived in a ceramic bowl, a crude assembly of red paste, flecks of some sort of meat substance, and what I suppose could be described as some type of noodle. With some anxiety and nervousness, my hands moved to the accompanying spoon with this so-called “meal” – hands shaking worse than my poor Parkinsons’ struck Grandfather. The thought of this being good had never crossed my mind. It was completely out of gastro-induced intrigue that I barged into this Tim Hortons and made this purchase.

                                                                                   (Tim Hortons' handout image)

I’d never figured Tim Hortons to be the place taking risks of this magnitude with their, admittedly shotty, hot food selections. When I think Tim Hortons I think coffee, line ups, Donuts, line ups; at certain point the line ups and drive-thru variants resemble a slaughter house cattle line, the creature being slowly processed to be killed or in this case serviced. This is the reason Sydenham road is backed up in the morning. I’ve never actually seen a cattle line or visited a slaughter house, or really know what I am talking about – does that make me a liar?

Regardless of my narrative reliability, I’d stumbled across Timmy Hoes’ new product purely through social networking. A friend managed to post on her status that she was enjoying a Tim Hortons’ Lasagna. At first I thought this was some new slang, or a term she had created (she’s clever, but not that clever).  So I immediately defaulted to thinking she’d purchased some form of drugs. I attribute this assumption to watching the Wire too much, which isn’t a bad thing. Moving forward, my interest, while initially discarding her “Tim Hortons’ Lasagna” post, began to peak as I saw other friends talking about it.

“TO GOOGLE!” I yelled. (I actually didn’t).

I looked up Tim Hortons’ Lasagna to see if these outrageous claims had any merit. Five minutes later (I have dial-up) it became evident that this thing did exist. What became more evident were the marketing implications raised by such a stupid story. The blogosphere and actual Canadian news sources were covering this in spades.

Taking a step back from the whole thing, and gazing on it with marketing in mind, one could see the genius behind it. What Tim Hortons did was just a smaller scale version of KFC’s Double Down campaign. Create a product so outrageous and give an initial push in marketing. The outrageousness will spiral out as interest spikes. People will talk about the product. The media will cover the product. And what you get is a form of self-sustaining free advertising. As Kip and Kathy covered in their respective classes, launching a new product is often a very daunting and expensive task that can often fail if the wrong advertising means are implemented. In the case of Tim’s Lasagna, they managed to garner mass amounts of free advertising courtesy of people’s social media updates, and the CBC.

                                                                                       (image from:

With this understanding, I now realize this blog just spoke of this product. In talking of it, and describing it from an anecdote, I just redirected Tim Hortons’ message of “NEW PRODUCT. NEED ATTENTION. LOOK HERE”. Now the main question is how did it taste?

To be honest, I never entered Tim Hortons; I never purchased Lasagna there; my hands never shook with anticipation about the product. This is all because I never fell into the marketing trap Tim Hortons had presented before me. Now if they served some form of alcohol, it would be an entirely different story…


                                                                 Banned from Tim Hortons.

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