Is Dunkin’ finally cool again?


Hey there!

From grabbing an Iced Coffee on the way to work to making a special visit to the coffee shop to try their seasonal special 'Peppermint Mocha' — Starbucks isn't just a coffee brand in America; it's a cultural phenomenon.

Americans didn’t always run on Starbucks; there was a time when “America Ran on Dunkin'”.

And according to me, that time might be coming again…

Dunkin’: An Emotion for Old America

Let’s back up a little bit.

Soon after its launch in 1948, Dunkin' Donuts became a comforting morning ritual of America. Their fresh donuts and hot coffee became synonymous with quick and convenient fuel for busy Americans, solidifying their place in popular culture.

The iconic pink and orange branding, paired with the catchy "America Runs on Dunkin'" slogan, cemented their image. These vibrant colors and the ubiquitous slogan transformed them into a cultural touchstone, an essential part of the American morning.

The Shakedown of the Multi-Decade Brand

See, by the late 2010s, cracks began to show in Dunkin' Donuts' seemingly unshakeable foundation.

Dunkin’ had reigned supreme for decades. But the rise of specialty coffee shops like Starbucks began to lure customers away with diverse flavor profiles and a more upscale experience.

This shift in consumer preferences, especially among younger generations, was further compounded by competition from fast-food chains like McDonald's and McCafe, which offered convenient breakfast options at competitive prices.

This is when they realized they needed a change.

They dropped the word ‘Donuts’ from their name, as they wanted to position themselves as a brand that did more than just sugary dough with a hole in the middle.

Dunkin’ + Ben Affleck + Super Bowl = Peak Dunkin’ Moments

In a bid to modernize their image and connect with a younger audience, Dunkin' hit a goldmine with their Super Bowl ad in 2024.

In it, they featured celebrities like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, and Jennifer Lopez, showcasing them as the "DunKings" attempting to break into the music scene. This unexpected combination and playful tone resonated with viewers, generating massive buzz and online discussions.

Following this campaign, Dunkin' introduced a limited-time menu and exclusive merchandise, which sold out in just 19 minutes of the launch.

The Dunkin' commercial came in #2 on the USA Today Ad Meter competition, which ranks the Super Bowl "best-of ads" each year.

The 2024 Super Bowl commercial was a continuation of their 2023 Super Bowl commercial. In last year’s ad, Jennifer Lopez meets Ben Affleck at a Dunkin' drive-through where he is assisting customers and asks, “Is this what you do when you say you are going to work all day?”

During 2024, Dunkin also released a video of Ben Affleck and Charlie D’Amelio where he is trying to explain to her what he does.

A New Dunkin’ for the New America: Celebrities or Influencers?

As you've seen, Dunkin’ is making significant efforts in the right direction to regain its position in the heart of modern America.

The decision to drop "Donuts" from their name and their adaptability to their new target audience’s tone in their Super Bowl ads are commendable.

Also, we can’t forget the fact that they chose Ben Affleck as their brand ambassador in 2023. A match truly made in Dunkin’ heaven, I’d concur.

In 2019, Affleck even said, "I have Dunkin Donuts every day," he tells Collider in an interview. "I feel like I’m spreading the word."

But while Dunkin’ has scored a home-run with the big celebrities, it’s not really struck a chord with influencers.

And why is that important, you ask?

Because social-first creators/influencers allow to have a sustained and authentic conversation around your brand, and not just when its Super Bowl season.

In an upcoming episode of Influencer Matchmaking, we discuss how Dunkin’ can approach influencer marketing, using InsightIQ.

You should totally subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t already!

What do you think about Dunkin’s marketing? Should influencers be a part of their strategy, or are celebrities good enough?

I’m eager to hear your thoughts!

That’s it for this week! We’ll be back with another story next Tuesday. 👋🏼

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