Tagged product naming

Tim Hortons, This is a Mistake – Renaming Hot Cup Sizes

by Jonathan Barrick

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This morning on my way in to the office I was informed at my local Tim Hortons that they would be changing the names of ALL of their hot cup sizes. The reason for this change is evidently the introduction of a new 24oz cup size.

What Tim Hortons did would seem somewhat logical to many. Since their previous largest size cup was called the ‘extra large’, they took the new 24oz cup and called THAT the ‘extra large’. Each subsequently smaller cup took the name of the next smaller size. ie: Medium became Small, Large became Medium, and so on.

The thing is…

Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution. It is the morning ritual of millions of Canadians, and is so ingrained in our culture, we snicker when visitors to our country feel compelled to ask what on earth a ‘Double Double’ is.

People are so accustomed to ordering a certain thing at their Tim Hortons, that having to adjust such a strong habit they’ve not changed EVER will likely be a source of frustration. Not only that, but by show of hands, how many people here know exactly what size their family, friends and co-workers drink? WOW! That’s a lot of hands.

Example: You work at a place with a small group of other coffee drinkers. Most of them like Tim’s coffee, and there just so happens to be one located a couple of blocks from your place of business. There’s a morning routine that occurs, without fail, every day. At 10am, you each rock-paper-scissors to see who’s going to make the coffee run. You lose the match, and so you don your coat and hat and venture out in to the world to obtain the mid-morning fix for your crew.

But lo! When you arrive you are greeted with a peculiar situation. None of the sizes match up to the order you’ve been placing every morning for a decade. Tragedy! Do you think your co-workers would want the larger sizes? Or the sizes you’ve been accustomed to consuming? If you use the same names, then you’ve got everyone a bigger cup (at higher cost) than what they really wanted. If you use the new names, you need to process a downsizing conversion in your head for every drink. And each of your co-workers hits the same problem the first time it becomes their turn to make the order under the new system.

This stinks.

Now, I realize this is hardly something to go nuts over. It’s just inconvenient, and doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Here’s what most of us probably would have done:

Adding a new bigger cup size? Hmm…. Well the biggest we have is called the ‘Extra Large’. We could rename every cup in the lineup, thus creating confusion out in the marketplace as to what you’re actually ordering. Or, we could take the one, singular, solitary new cup size and give it a unique name, keeping everything else intact. We could call it the Mega, Jumbo, Super, Max, etc. The list could really be quite long. There’s no shortage of synonyms for ‘big’.

Anyway, that’s my little rant. This new cup addition could have been done in a better, easier to understand, and more seamless way. But now, beginning on Monday January 23rd, LOTS of people will have a morning that’s not what they expect. We’ll adapt, sure, but this is one situation where it was totally and completely unnecessary.