NEWS

Tim Hortons stops running ads for Enbridge

06/04/2015 02:58 EDT | Updated 06/04/2016 05:59 EDT
Canadian coffee chain giant Tim Hortons will no longer be running advertisements for the Enbridge pipeline company.

The spots had been airing for close to three weeks on screens at more than 1,500 Tim Hortons locations between British Columbia and Ontario on Tims TV.

The campaign was supposed to run for another week.

An online petition from a group called SumOfUs launched an online petition calling on Tim Hortons to yank the ads, accusing the company of "shilling" for the oilsands shipper.

Tim Hortons responded to several Twitter users by saying it values the feedback and the ads will no longer be airing on Tims TV.

In a statement, Enbridge spokesman Graham White says the company enjoyed working with Tims and respects its decision.

Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline has proven to be a controversial project in B.C. The $7.9 billion pipeline would ship oilsands bitumen from Alberta to the west coast. The earliest it will be in operation is 2019.

There are numerous hurdles to be overcome before then:​

- Meet 209 conditions; fewer than 30 have been fully completed.

- Bring aboriginal communities onside - 26 of 45 have signed up.

- Deal with First Nations court challenges.

- Secure continued commercial support.

- Satisfy British Columbia's conditions.

The decision by Tim Hortons is sparking backlash in Alberta. Politicians, including Defence Minister Jason Kenney, took to Twitter to voice their support for Enbridge.

"​I'm proud to represent thousands of constituents who work for Enbridge & other CDN energy companies," wrote Kenney, who represents the riding of Calgary Southeast.

"Enbridge, of course, is not just pipelines and oilsands; they are a whole range of products including heating people's homes," said branding expert Alan Middleton of York University. "Tims should have thought about that."

Middleton suggests that Tim Hortons was over-sensitive to the petition and the company needs to clearly state its corporate philosophy.

Tim Hortons did not immediately respond to our requests for comment.

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