Canadians are taking to the Internet to express their outrage over Tim Hortons’ newest marketing idea — to sell a poutine doughnut only in the U.S.
This week, the fast-food chain announced a range of menu items being released for Canada’s 150th birthday that will be available only at select U.S. locations. One of the items includes a honey-dip doughnut topped with potato wedges, gravy and cheese curds.
Tim Hortons said the doughnuts, along with a maple-bacon ice cappuccino and maple Timbits, are a way to celebrate the coffee chain’s Canadian origins. But some users disagree and are calling out the company on their sense of loyalty.
“Although the doughnut was most likely a marketing scheme to get Canadians discussing the brand, the response it evoked was probably not the one they had hoped for. Canadians are known for their national pride — obviously,” Shelby Andrews with Atlas Communications said.
“Releasing the doughnut in both Canada and the U.S. would have been a smarter way to share our culture with the rest of North America,” he said.
Not only are social media users showing anger over the treat’s geographical limitations, many are saying although they love poutine, slathering it on top of a doughnut is just a bad idea.
The Twitter backlash may also be because the release comes across as “gawky and gimmicky,” according to Ela Veresiu, an assistant professor of marketing at York University.
“It’s also a little bit gross because of the flavour combination,” she said, “I feel Canadian consumers feel embarrassed that it is out to our neighbours. We are more than just hockey, beer and poutine.”
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Veresiu said the company should be watching the online conversation around the poutine doughnut. If it ends up people in Canada want to try it, perhaps they may release it here, she said.
“But I don’t think that would be the case,” she said. “At the end of the day, I don’t think the Twitter backlash will hurt the brand significantly because it’s only released over a small amount of time.”
Global News reached out to Tim Hortons for a comment.
“We always strive to offer our guests delicious and exciting new products across various markets. We’re confident our guests will be delighted by our Canada 150 offerings both north and south of the border,” a spokesperson stated in an email.
With files from the Candian Press