Viral Ad Campaign of the Week: #TimsDark Experiment

#timsdark experiment

I’m aboot to show you a little side of myself that I haven’t before, if the ‘aboot’ didn’t clue you in, I, Ernest Thompson, am Canadian. I have been all my life, and I feel that it’s time I came out as openly Canadian, especially since I’m going to be talking about the #TimsDark Experiment by the iconic Canadian brand, Tim Horton’s.

The #TimsDark Experiment video perfectly snags you in the first 30 seconds, regardless of your country of birth orientation, as you want to figure out…just what the heck is going on?

Viral Ad Campaign of the Week: #TimsDark Experiment

The #TimsDark experiment video starts off with something every Canadian has seen countless time – a local Tim Horton’s coffee and donut store. It is then painted flat black, and that’s when the locals get interested, and dare to enter:

If there’s a better way to debut a new ‘dark’ roast coffee, I don’t know it. The real questions is, will it still taste good as a double double?

What makes this video work so well, and has gotten it 2 million + views and made it so it won’t need our YouTube service, is that it doesn’t cut out anything. There’s someone swearing, as you’d expect anyone to do in that situation, but they censor it rather than not show it at all. They kept it real, and didn’t try to fit the moment to the marketing, they let the moments captured speak for themselves.

Other aspects of the #TimsDark Experiment viral ad campaign

The campaign has its own hashtag on Twitter that sees a surge of popularity in the morning, and the type of polite and honest comments that you’d expect from my fellow Canucks. They’re doing well and likely don’t need a boost from our Twitter crowd marketing service:

#TimsDark experiment tweets

The #TimsDark experiment also includes follow up videos. There’s the Carol and Linda video, two older ladies who are so Canadian it’s almost painful, and two ladies who you see at every Tims early in the morning: Erika and Jennifer. One of them is wearing yoga pants. Enough said.

There’s also a part of their website dedicated to the Dark Roast campaign that is, well, a little silly.

Problems with the #TimsDark Experiment

The two follow up videos have had very low view numbers. While they link at the end of the video, very poor explanation is given as to what you’ll be watching. A title like “Two old ladies freak out in the dark” may have gotten them more views, but it may have subverted their efforts as well.

The website is half perfect. It starts out dark, sleek and sexy. Yo look at it and know what’s going on – a new coffee is being advertised – but then at the bottom things change as they start an out of place “Find your Dark Roast Personality” game. It’s better off on Buzzfeed or another time waster than here.

Then, after filling it all out, they get my order/peronsality way wrong:

#Timsdark experiment results

I ALWAYS want a double double! (That’s two milks and two sugars for my none maple sucking readers.)

If it wasn’t for the goofy website, and the poorly headlined follow up videos, the #TimsDark Experiment would be a complete hit in my books. Those to really hold it back when it could be easily changed to really match up and feel like one whole campaign rather than fragments of one.

by Ernest Thompson

Ernest is an online marketing user and abuser with a keen eye for the latest viral trends. His years of experience in the online marketing industry are presented here on Viral Tactics for you to learn from, and to offer you a chance to add your opinions.