Posted by: Ian Ross | March 14, 2009

Tim Horton’s RRRolling Out The Trashbin

There are few marketing campaigns more successful in Canada than the Tim Horton’s Roll Up The Rim To Win event every winter. It is true Canadiana. But it may not last for much longer.

There are 281,686,000 cups made for the contest — and they all end up in our trashbins and landfills.

Bottled watrolluptherim010er is quickly become a sin. The Toronto City Council voted this week to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on its premises including City Hall and golf courses within the next two years. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, school boards and corporations are all making the same move. Meanwhile, the City of Toronto hit the headlines last week about their failure to find ways to recycle coffee cups.

So I doubt it will be long until people start questioning the Roll Up campaign’s impact on the environment.

When I’ve brought my travel mug to Tim Hortons, they offer me a cup so I can roll it up. There is no alternative. You must create trash to win. According to Tim’s contest rules, you don’t even have to buy coffee. You can write in and they will send you a cup. There is an online contest without a cup but there is no car or cash… just lots of coffee.

Perhaps it is time for Tim Hortons to offer an eco-friendly solution to participate in the contest. Before the Green tide turns on this iconic Canadian marketing event.



  1. First of all, welcome back Ian. I’ve really enjoyed your posts.

    I am a big Roll Up the Rim fan (the prospect of a free coffee is all I need). And I agree that there should be an environmentally-conscious component – perhaps it could even be generated in-store.

    However, as with any contest Tim’s will need to find a way to translate the ‘act of rolling’ that’s such a big part of the excitement. I’d say their cup runneth over with that challenge.

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