A recent blog entry from one of the hosts of my local news radio station about coffee promotions got me thinking about coffee marketing. It's obviously no coincidence that McDonalds started a promotion of a free small coffee at the same time as Tim Horton's Roll Up the Rim to Win contest. While I agree that McDonalds is not the place I would turn to first for a cup of coffee, I disagree with his statements regarding sticking to certain strengths. McDonalds is attempting to counter the attacks Tim Hortons has been making in the breakfast department. Five or six years ago, my morning routine would include a stop at McDonalds for a Bacon n' Egg McMuffin, followed by a trip through the Tims drive-through for a large double double. These days, when I need my breakfast on the go, I can get a bacon breakfast sandwich at Tims with my coffee.
I will admit, the McDonalds coffee is decent. This still won't change my morning routine. I pass three separate Tim Hortons on my morning commute, but there aren't any Golden Arches in sight. Tim Hortons franchises have a pretty good density in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.
I will however, consider ordering a coffee from McDonalds when I'm there already. That is part of the point, I believe. McDonalds is not attempting to become the leader in coffee. They're trying to remain competitive, especially in the morning breakfast market.
As for the Roll up the Rim contest at Tim Hortons? Earlier this week, a free coffee won me a free coffee, which is about as far as the chain ever seems to go.