As the year of ever-changing restaurant restrictions winds down, so does the Justin Bieber X Tim Hortons collab that sent some Canadians into a hot frenzy in December.
The launch of limited edition Timbits and Merch in collaboration with the proud Canadian megastar didn’t just pack Tim Hortons drive-thrus at the end of 2021. Tim Hortons became a celeb-backed luxury label for three whole weeks, thwarting off black markets and knock-offs and re-stock issues, and prompting fan messages, even fan art (a Toronto man made a JB portrait out of 150 timbiebs in celebration of the collab). Most incredibly, the partnership made Tim Hortons cool again, to a crowd that grew up on Timbits, but may have been lost along the way in favour of the trendier Starbucks brand.
The TimBiebs merch, which included branded bags, hats, fanny packs, and Timbits boxes, were definitely reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s own designer label House Of Drew, where a t-shirt sells for $76, The Tim’s merch became a luxury label for three weeks. It sold out almost immediately, and, in designer-brand fashion, black markets and knock-offs started popping up. Timbiebs boxes were going for $50 to $100 on eBay, some as high as $2,000. A BC man posted a Timbieb crumb – no box, no doughnut – for $100K in mid-December. Though the posting was almost certainly a joke, it was the start of many other ridiculous eBay listings that are still up today.
Was it the most genius marketing play of 2022?
While Justin Bieber was the fairy godmother that gave Tim Hortons their night at the ball, the frenzy almost certainly won’t last in Tim Hortons drive-thrus. The actual Timbiebs are nothing new on the menu, save for a more sugary rendition of their classic Timbits. While Timbiebs merch may stay through to early 2022 to keep up with demand, the Timbieb frenzy will ultimately give way to the next-best collab with a star of Justin Bieber’s caliber.
The motive behind the undoubtedly expensive Timbiebs endorsement may not have had much to do with Canada at all. In the middle of the height of Timbiebs fame in mid-December, Tim Hortons announced its first location in Texas, with multiple locations coming to the Lone Star State in 2022. Tim Hortons has had a presence in the northern states for years now, but this will be some of the first locations in the southern states, where it is almost completely unknown.
When the move was announced, southern news outlets were quick to introduce the brand as ‘Justin Bieber’s favourite eatery’. Considering that Justin’s fame is probably much larger than the Tim’s notoriety in Texas and places alike, Timbiebs may help the brand to enter into the market, and differentiate them from a ton of other donut and coffee brands down there.