Coffee shops and Canadian identity eh!?
There was a lot of Canadian pride (go Canada go) during and since the Olympics. Debates abounded about Canadian identity, what it is, who has it, and how awesome we all are. I was torn during the closing ceremonies about the musical number with the giant mounties, lumberjacks in their canoes, and the giant beavers. On the one hand I was like really?! You’re pulling out those old stereotypes? And then on the other hand I was like – yeah, I get parody – it’s kinda funny to make fun of ourselves.
I hate to go all anthropological on you but a society’s cultural identity is usually constructed in counter distinction to another, usually dominant, society. C’est what!? Basically we define ourselves by looking at another society and saying what we’re not. Canadians love to do this with American society. Health care and the lack of guns is what makes us different and is a big part of our Canadian identity … and so it goes. This beer commercial highlights what I mean.
I for one was getting tired of having my identity constructed by beer and coffee shop commercials. I get it already, we play hockey and drink beer, and eat the occasional inside of a donut. Until I saw the new Tim Hortons commercial.
For my bloggowers outside of the country Tim Hortons is more of an institution than the parliament, the supreme court of Canada, and the true north strong and free – oh, did I mention it’s a coffee and donut shop? And they have their own language - you will hear people ordering a 'double-double' (coffee with two cream and two sugar)!
The ad is funny because it examines the classic Canadian stereotypes. What’s interesting is that instead of creating Canadian identity in counter distinction to, let’s say, another coffee shop, it creates Canadian identity in counter distinction to stereotypes about Canadian identity.
Oh, by the way, I received no monetary or product remuneration from the posting of this blog post. But … if Don Schroeder the Pres and CEO of Tim Horton’s is reading this: Extra Large Steeped Tea with three shots of milk … just saying!