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Tim Hortons’ catchy ad tune gets a following – and more notes

Freshly-brewed coffee sits on a hot plate in a Tim Hortons outlet in Oakville, Ont.


Persuasion Notebook offers quick hits on the business of persuasion from The Globe and Mail's marketing and advertising reporter, Susan Krashinsky. Read more on The Globe's marketing page and follow Susan on Twitter @Susinsky.

Coffee chain Tim Hortons recently produced a commercial starring Sidney Crosby that was meant to rouse national sentiment among Canadians. But it also stirred something else among consumers: a nagging game of Name That Tune.

Since the ad's debut early this month, consumers have been approaching the company to ask about the track that plays in the ad, called Let's Run. They wanted to know where they could find it. The problem was, it did not exist outside the commercial.

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It's a common strategy for advertisers: Commissioning music that sounds like it could have come from the latest hot indie band, but that is actually bespoke music intended just for that 30-second spot.

Writing songs – or commissioning excerpts of existing ones – has proven a popular way for some of those indie musicians to make the kind of money they don't otherwise earn from their music. And music houses such as Grayson Matthews, Black Iris, and RMW Music have built businesses composing tunes that are tailored to the specific needs, timing and tone of each advertiser's campaign. Lately, the trend toward an indie sound has led to some of those music houses producing full-length tracks based on that work.

On Wednesday, Tim Hortons announced that it had commissioned a full recording of Let's Run and made it available for free download. It is now online under the Grayson Matthews account on popular music-sharing website SoundCloud.

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