Biting Into Burger King’s Tim Horton’s Deal, Eh

By Aug 28, 2014


Mmmmm…maple leaf donuts.

By now, you’ve probably heard all about Burger King’s planned acquisition of Canadian coffee and donut chain Tim Horton’s.

The New York Times reports on the deal here, noting that the deal essentially makes BK “a Canadian company majority owned by a Brazilian investment firm.” If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve likely had at least one friend post a rant raging that Burger King is moving to Canada to lower its tax bill.

O.Canada.com offers a history of the ownership of Tim Horton’s, while USA Today does the same for Burger King, both of which make for interesting reading.

Tax issues aside, The New Yorker raises an issue that concerns us greatly: Will Burger King make Tim Horton’s less Canadian? That would be a shame, and in my opinion, a marketing misstep.

Why? Simple. Canada and everything Canadian is stereotyped as being nice, and not in a bland goody-two-shoes kind of way. There’s a cool connotation to being Canadian that I honestly can’t explain.

My 11-year-old son loves Canada, and he’s not sure why. Maybe it’s the association with, yes, donuts, or moose, or his uncle’s cool girlfriend from Quebec, or Bob and Doug McKenzie.

Years ago, when I was covering a conference in Calgary, someone I met at a cocktail party couldn’t believe I was American, because I had the look and demeanor of someone from Toronto. I had no idea what that meant, but I took it as a huge compliment.

So Burger King, I implore you: Keep Tim Horton’s Canadian, eh. The maple loving hordes of the world demand it. (Okay, they don’t demand it. But they’ll ask really nicely and say please, and thank you.)

  • http://www.theAdaptiveMarketer.com/ Gerardo A. Dada

    Our friends on Facebook should not blame a company to seek a more favorable tax condition, which is their obligation to shareholders, we should instead worry that our lawmakers have built a taxation system that is not favorable to companies establishing in the US.

    As a marketer, the most important aspect of the acquisition is the future opportunities this deal presents: Are we going to see Tim Hortons in the US competing with Krispy Kreme, Panera and Starbucks? Competition is always a good thing for consumers.

    How would they do that from a branding and positioning perspective? what markets will they go after? Does Tim Horton have a chance to be a social destination in America?