TORONTO - A sitcom gag about the ubiquitous presence of Tim Hortons has inspired the company to create an outlandish new pastry — a Timbit stuffed into a jam-filled doughnut.
A company spokeswoman says the one-time only experiment — a photo of which appeared on its Twitter feed Tuesday — was inspired by a recent episode of City's "How I Met Your Mother."
The Canadian-themed episode featured a cameo by homegrown star Jason Priestley, who boasted of a self-created confection he dubbed "The Priestley."
Tim Hortons spokeswoman Alexandra Cygal says a staff member who happens to be a fan of the show as well as a "certified culinary scientist" created the doughnut as a fun exercise.
"The day after the show aired he just came into work and decided to create The Priestley in his lab, so we had a lot of fun with it," Cygal said Wednesday, adding that there are no plans to mass produce the treat.
"It's generated a lot of positive buzz and great exposure for our brand both in Canada and the U.S."
Monday's episode of "How I Met Your Mother" featured a cavalcade of Canadian stars including Luc Robitaille, Steven Page, k.d. lang, Geddy Lee, Alex Trebek, Alan Thicke and Paul Shaffer.
They pop up when recurring character Barney Stinson, played by Neil Patrick Harris, travels to Canada to learn more about his Canadian girlfriend Robin Scherbatsky, played by real-life Canuck actress Cobie Smulders.
He discovers a country obsessed with Tim Hortons doughnuts, as revealed by a faux documentary in which Priestley claims to have invented "The Priestley."
Tim Hortons jumped on the idea after the broadcast, posting a photo of what the baked treat would look like.
"We loved the idea of 'The Priestley' so much, we made a batch," the company says in a tweet and photo posted Tuesday afternoon.
"A Timbit IN a doughnut? Genius."
This is isn't the first time the fast-food company has jumped on the celebrity bandwagon.
Last month, it put movie star Ryan Gosling's mug on a Tim Hortons-branded mug after "The Notebook" hunk said in an interview he wished his movie "Gangster Squad" came with collectible cups.
"Can we get a Tims mug for 'Gangster Squad,' please?" Gosling says in the videotaped interview, available online.
"We just kind of took a mug, we put a logo on it, we put his photo on it and we sent it to him," says Cygal, adding that plenty of Gosling fans have asked for the one-of-a-kind gift.
She says the Gosling and Priestley gags were unplanned stunts that turned into great marketing opportunities. And she says "The Priestley" is actually very tasty.
"It was delicious," she says. "I actually ate one. It was really good."
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Robin Thicke appeared in the episode rather than Alan Thicke.
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