Tim Hortons reviewing in-store TV ads after boycott controversy

Protesters gather outside a Tim Hortons restaurant in June. Global News

Executives at Tim Hortons are reconsidering whether it’s worth the risk of flavouring your coffee break with potential controversy.

After the restaurant chain was dragged into a clash between environmentalists and oil industry supporters last month, Daniel Schwartz, CEO of Tim Hortons’ parent company Restaurant Brands, said Monday the company is reviewing its Tims TV in-store digital screens.

“We’re now taking a look at the whole Tims TV program and what makes sense for the brand,” said Schwartz. “As with many things in the restaurant we explore what’s best from time to time.”

The review comes after Tim Hortons was put in the hotseat for giving advertisement space to pipeline giant Enbridge on its in-store digital screens.

The commercials angered environmentalists who launched an online petition to get them pulled from stores, but when Tim Hortons decided to yank the Enbridge ads some oil industry supporters called it an insult to one of Canada’s biggest industries and launched their own boycott.

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MORE: Protesters call for Tim Hortons boycott in Calgary’s Beltline

The conflict showed the potential dangers of a brand like Tim Hortons playing in the advertising world, selling space to companies that could anger its customers.

Tims began experimenting with Tims TV last spring before rolling out the screens at restaurants across the country. The company described Tims TV as its own version of a community space, serving as a home for the latest news, weather, local events and branded videos.

But the main thrust of the concept was to pocket revenue from what’s essentially a billboard inside the restaurants. Advertisers could buy airtime on Tims TV in the looping rotation of content.

WATCH: Tim Horton’s has discovered that oil and coffee don’t mix. Reid Feist reports.



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