Tim Hortons Roll up the Rim Contest 2003
Each February, Tim Hortons holds a marketing campaign called Roll Up the Rim to Win. As of 2007, over 31 million prizes were distributed each year, including cars, televisions, and store products. Customers determine if they have won prizes by unrolling the rim on their paper cups when they have finished their drink, revealing the result underneath. Prizes are not distributed randomly country-wide; each of the company's distribution regions has distinct prize-winning odds. The idea for the campaign began in 1985 when Roger Wilson of one of Tim Hortons' supplier of cups, Lily Cup company, approached Tim Hortons with a new idea to increase their sales. Wilson explained his company had created a new cup design that allowed a message to be printed under the rim; the cup type cost no more than the current one and could enable a promotion or contest. Recognizing the opportunity to promote coffee in the normally weak sales period in the spring, the Roll Up the Rim to Win campaign was first held in 1986 when the biggest prize was a snack box of Timbits. In 2008, over 88% of major prizes were redeemed.
The contest is popular enough that Paul Kind has invented the Rimroller (as seen on Dragons' Den), a device for rolling up the rim mechanically.
In honor of Canada's sesquicentennial, a special edition of the Roll Up the Rim promotion was held in July 2017, with prizes including an "Ultimate Canadian Vacation" valued at $10,000.
The contest has seen several controversies including the theft of unrolled cups. In March 2006, two families were fighting over a Toyota RAV4 SUV prize of CA$32,000 value when their daughters found a winning "roll up the rim" coffee cup in a garbage bin of an elementary school in Saint-Jérôme, a town north of Montreal. The younger girl had found a cup in the garbage bin and could not roll up the rim, so she requested the help of an older girl. Once the winning cup was revealed, the older girl's family stated that they deserved the prize. Tim Hortons originally stated that they would not intervene in the dispute. A further complication arose when Quebec lawyer Claude Archambault requested a DNA test be done on the cup. He claimed that his unnamed client had thrown out the cup and was the rightful recipient of the prize. On April 19, 2006, Tim Hortons announced that they had decided to award the prize to the younger girl who had initially found the cup. The company has also faced concerns over the amount of additional litter generated by the promotion.
In 2018, Tim Hortons began to add digital components to the promotion, via the "Scroll Up the Rim" feature (which gave players a chance at food prizes) on the chain's mobile app. In 2020, as part of environmental initiatives and to promote the chain's new Tims Rewards loyalty program, Tim Hortons announced that it would only distribute Roll Up the Rim cups during the first two weeks of the campaign. Each eligible purchase by a Tims Rewards member during the first half of the promotion was to earn two electronic entries, and one electronic entry in the second two weeks, redeemable via the Tims Rewards mobile app. Any purchase using a reusable cup was to award three entries.
On March 7, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tim Hortons announced that it had cancelled the distribution of physical cups for the promotion due to concerns that the virus could be spread by returned cups, and that the promotion would be conducted solely via the app. The chain had also joined others in temporarily prohibiting the use of reusable cups for similar reasons. The changes from 2020 remained in use for 2021, with the promotion therefore being renamed to Roll Up to Win. In addition, Tim Hortons announced that every electronic entry would be guaranteed to win Tims Rewards points at a minimum.