This morning I had breakfast with some American friends who have been up in Vancouver for the Olympics. We discussed this Tim Horton’s ad that tells the story of the reunion of an African family in a snowy Canadian airport:
It’s pretty touching, in a corporate coffee commercial kind of way. In a minute, the ad explores those two pillars of Canadian culture: the immigrant experience and Tim Horton’s.
Tim Horton’s is, of course, a much-loved Canadian brand. It’s also an incredibly mainstream brand–there’s nothing edgy about the Timmy. So this ad isn’t meant to provocatively appeal to the coasts–it’s a commercial for every Canadian watching the Olympics. And I think it’s probably appealing. We are, of course, nearly all immigrants to this land.
My American friends explained that this commercial would never, ever air in the United States. They said that there’s simply too much ill will and anger around immigration. It would mean corporate suicide for a big company to run this piece in the States.
I can’t say that I was surprised by their observation, but it’s a little sad. It’s also a reminder of how, in certain respects, we’re so different from our neighbours–spelled with the ‘u’–to the south.
UPDATE: John sent along this Globe and Mail story which explains that:
- The people in the ad are, in fact, actors.
- The ad isn’t based on one particular story.
This should come as a shock to no one.