By Barry Janoff
September 24, 2015: Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon may be pros on the ice, but they are rookies and novices when it comes to handling the drive-thru at Tim Hortons.
The two NHL players star in a humorous campaign for the largest casual-serve restaurant in Canada, to support the chain's status as an official partner with the NHL and also the Tim Hortons Collector’s Series NHL Upper Deck Trading Cards, which will be available in all locations.
Crosby is now in his 11th season as an all-star center with the Pittsburgh Penguins; center MacKinnon is in his third season with the Colorado Avalanche.
The eight commercials, shot in a Tim Hortons located in Nova Scotia near where both players were born, uses a familiar scenario of having customers speaking into a microphone as they order from their cars and are unknowingly served by the two unseen athletes, but here with a hockey twist.
One spot, "Six Ounces," sees Crosby and MacKinnon asking patrons how much a hockey puck weighs; another finds them asking on what "Frozen Substance" is hockey played (the answer here is water, not ice); a third, "Sid Vs. Nate," sees people trying to name their favorite hockey player from the area (Crosby trounces MacKinnon).
As in the umbrella spot, "Drive Thru Rookies," most customers are shocked and amazed when they eventually learn the real identities of their drive-thru servers.
"Hockey is part of Tim Hortons DNA," Peter Nowlan, CMO for Tim Hortons Canada, said in a statement. "From our founder, NHL great Tim Horton, to partnerships at all levels of the sport, to our relationship with players like Sidney and Nathan, Tim Hortons has an innate connection to Canada's favorite game."
In addition to national TV, support includes POP, Internet, social media and an online "Collect to Win Contest" offering such goodies as a trip to the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend in Nashville, EA Sports NHL '16 PlayStation 4 prize packs and packs of the Upper Deck trading cards.
According to Jason Masherah, president for Upper Deck, "Tim Hortons has such a strong association with hockey, making it the ideal brand to work with on this innovative platform for card collecting and trading. With the calibre of this season's rookie talent, there has been a surge in interest for hockey cards, and the online trading component of this program will give fans across Canada easy access to them."
The Tim Hortons Collector's Series NHL Trading Cards will be available in three-card packs (while supplies last), featuring 99 of NHL players plus a Tim Horton player card (No. 001 in the set).
A variety of insert and redemption cards also are available, including 87 “Timbits” hockey cards signed by Crosby.and NHL Jersey Relic Cards, which feature a piece of jersey from one of 17 NHL players.
"It's been a lot of fun teaming up with Tim Hortons for this exciting new launch," Crosby said in a statement. "I remember collecting when I was a kid and it's great to bring trading cards to a new generation of hockey fans. Nate and I had a lot of fun with both the customers and employees in the Tims' drive thru and enjoyed meeting some fellow Nova Scotians."
"The launch of Tim Hortons Collector's Series NHL Trading Cards and online trading platform is the next chapter of our hockey history," said Nowlan. "With the help of Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, we're connecting with hockey fans, young and old, across the country by capturing the nostalgia of hockey card collecting in a new and exciting way."
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