To boost brand awareness and consideration during the winter holiday season, the Tim Hortons quick service restaurant and coffee chain ran an interactive augmented reality ad together with its usual ads on Instagram and Facebook and saw a 4.4-point lift in ad recall.

Quick service restaurant chain

Tim Hortons is Canada's largest restaurant chain operating in the quick service industry, with over 4,000 restaurants across the country. More than a coffee and bake shop, Tim Hortons guests can enjoy hot and cold specialty beverages alongside breakfast items, sandwiches, wraps, soups and more.


lift in standard ad recall


lift in consideration


incremental reach to the overall campaign


of augmented reality ads reach was in adults aged 18-34

We were excited to launch our very first augmented reality ad on Meta to drive brand love and deepen our connection with guests during the holiday season. We saw that the augmented reality experience drove significant incremental reach, especially with younger audiences, helping us achieve a lift in consideration and favorability during a very competitive period.
Increasing brand love

Tim Hortons wanted a way to increase brand love and consideration, and spread a story of kindness during the winter holiday season.

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Incorporating augmented reality

Throughout the winter holiday season, Tim Hortons ran a TV commercial followed by the release of its children’s book, “A Nest in the North,” both of which celebrated the value of kindness toward one another. The theme was inspired by the stories of immigrants who found a new home in Canada in 2022, and 100% of proceeds from the book sales were donated to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Looking to drive brand love through immersive experiences, the company next decided to run augmented reality ads on Instagram and Facebook as an extension to the holiday TV commercial, along with photo and video ads. Tim Hortons’ creative agency GUT conceived the augmented reality experience while The Electric Factory, a Meta Business Partner, developed and animated the AR effects. Tim Hortons’ media agency, Media.Monks, executed the campaign.

The augmented reality ad used the awareness objective and showed birds featured in the children’s book and the commercial coming together to sing a story of kindness to the melody of “Jingle Bells.” The ad invited viewers to “Create a moment of togetherness this season. Try our AR filter that activates with every friend you gather into frame.” The ad included a Try in Camera button that, when clicked, opened the camera on the ad viewer’s mobile device and loaded the augmented reality filter effects. Then, when the viewer took a selfie, the effects displayed and viewers could sing “Jingle Bells” and add friends to sing along.

The regular photo and video ads used the traffic objective and showcased seasonal donuts and espresso-based beverages while directing people to the Tim Hortons website to purchase the book or other holiday gifts. The featured messaging was “There’s snowplace like Tims for holiday gifts.”

Tim Hortons showed the ads to Canadian adults aged 18–54 in Instagram and Facebook Feed, Stories and Reels, and Instagram Explore, and used Advantage+ campaign budget to automatically distribute the budget across the best-performing ad sets in real time.

Tim Hortons measured the results of the November 21–December 31, 2022 winter holiday ad campaign using a pair of Meta brand lift studies, which revealed that including augmented reality ads helped to drive:

  • 4.4-point lift in standard ad recall
  • 2.3-point lift in consideration
  • 27% incremental reach to the overall campaign
  • 68% of augmented reality ads reach was in younger adults aged 18–34
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We will look to continue leveraging augmented reality ads as we were able to reach more Canadians and drive a positive brand impact. Leveraging Meta’s full suite of interactive and immersive formats (augmented reality, branded content, Reels and more) will help us further deepen brand outcome and overall business success.