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Selling through the screen: Coffee and product placement

From the March 2013 issue.

Strategic product placement in television shows and movies is playing a central role in Canada’s Tim Hortons’ move into the United States.

Neil Patrick Harris and James van der Beek How I met your Mother Tim HortonsBy Natalie Dunleavy Campbell

With an average television consumption of around five hours a day, when they’re not working or sleeping, the average American will spend much of his or her time glued to the TV screen.

These are figures that Canadian coffee giant Tim Hortons is taking on board in its efforts to further expand into the United States market. In looking to win over the hearts and minds of Americans, Tim Hortons hopes to expand its US presence by placing its product in the hands of the likes of actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert De Niro in Hollywood movies and television. The tactic is part of the coffee chain’s latest marketing strategy to use product placement to increase its brand recognition in the US.

“As we expand our brand and presence in the US and internationally, we’re looking to raise our brand awareness,” says Alexandra Cygal, Senior Manager of Public Affairs at Tim Hortons. “We recognise that putting our product on the big screen is a good way to achieve that.”

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