Behind the scenes of Tim Hortons’ hit Sidney Crosby ad

January 27, 2014  |  Kate Wilkinson for Canadian Business  |  Comments

Meet the folks behind ad tunes you love

Patriotic advertisements are all the rage again as the country ramps up for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. But one in particular is drawing a lot of attention from viewers before the games even begin.

By now you’ve probably seen the Tim Hortons ad in question—Sidney Crosby, in a letter C jersey, swings his legs over the bench to start playing what is ostensibly an international hockey game. The surreal sets in when droves of eager Canadians, young and old, start hopping onto the ice as well, joining together to play a good old hockey game as an anthemic song plays in the background. “The northern lights are calling/The siren screams our name,” goes the soundtrack:

It’s an ad that’s calculated to tug at your Canadian heartstrings, but according to Tim Hortons the spot has elicited an even stronger response than they anticipated. ”Right from the very first day our…spot aired, our guests have been tweeting us and posting messages on Facebook and YouTube asking for the song,” Rob Fordes, Tim Hortons’ senior director of marketing and national programs, said in a press release.

Ask and you shall receive. On Wednesday Tim Hortons released a full version of the song, entitled “Let’s Run,” and made it available to download for free on SoundCloud.

[Editor's note: And don't forget that much the same happened in 2009 when Kraft and SharpeBlackmore Euro RSCG filled in its ad song for Ritz]

But “Let’s Run” isn’t the first time that Grayson Matthews , the Toronto sound design and music collective that created the track, have received requests to extend their advertising soundtracks into a full-length song. The company actually has a whole album of music originally created for ads available on iTunes. A year ago you likely saw Molson’s “The Canadians” ad, which also featured a Grayson Matthews single, titled “Where I’m From.”

The past decade has seen a rising demand for “music supervision” of the type Grayson Matthews provides—companies and individuals dedicated to creating or finding the right song for the right moment in a piece of film. Record labels used to rely on radio play and music videos to ensure sales, but in today’s music industry (one heavily influenced by the Internet, of course), advertising and television are the “new radio,” says David Hayman, creative director and music supervisor at Toronto’s Supersonic Creative . Like Grayson Matthews, Supersonic specializes in both writing and licensing music for ads, films, and TV shows.

“Television is really what moves numbers these days,” Hayman says. “Now if you flip on the television you definitely see about 50% of the spots [using] licensed music from bands you either know or bands that are emerging,” as opposed to original compositions. And when people hear music they like in ads or shows, “it’s just a visceral thing—they want to know what it is right away,” Hayman added. The need to know the title of that mystery song can be a very good thing for an artist.

There’s more! Read the full article at

Loading comments, please wait.
Magazine Daily RSS