Dunkin' Donuts Finds Its Inner Cheerleader

Chain Turns Optimistic as It Tells Consumers They 'Kin' Do It' in New Hill Holliday Spots

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Chalk up another optimistic advertiser: Dunkin' Donuts.

The company today launched a $100 million, grammatically challenged advertising campaign that assures consumers "You Kin' Do it!" The ads, which try to give encouragement for everything from shoveling the driveway to shedding holiday pounds, replace the more aggressive "Dunkin Beat Starbucks" taste-test campaign launched in October.

"The economy has people rattled and consumer confidence is at historic lows and for a lot of people there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel," said Frances Allen, Dunkin's chief brand marketing officer. The campaign, she said, is a "reminder just to keep moving."

Sticking with taste-test theme
Ms. Allen said the chain wasn't dropping the taste-test messaging, but that it will be worked into Dunkin's positive-thinking campaign moving forward rather than as a stand-alone effort.

Tough times call for serious measures. Dunkin' has said that it will stay top of mind by increasing ad spending up to 5% this year. According to TNS Media Intelligence, the chain spent $99 million in measured media during the first nine months of 2008. And last month Dunkin' named a new CEO, former Papa John's boss Nigel Travis.

Dunkin' and agency Hill Holliday, Boston, part of Interpublic Group of Cos., started work on the "Kin' Do" campaign about six months ago, but recent events on Wall Street have made the work increasingly topical. Tim Cawley, senior VP-creative director at Hill Holliday, said his client's challenge had been finding a common platform on which to market the chain's increasingly diverse array of products, which range from apple fritters to pizza.

Crowded with optimism
Having settled on "You Kin' Do it," Mr. Cawley admitted that the marketplace is becoming crowded with optimism, particularly as a result of Pepsi-Cola's new push, but said the components of the campaign are intrinsic to the Dunkin' brand, with everyday people doing everyday things, such as cleaning out the garage. "We feel gratified that these things are applicable without people saying Dunkin' is changing its personality," he said.

While the first two spots highlight value and the chain's egg-white flatbread sandwich, future TV work will focus on Dunkin's basics: coffee and doughnuts.

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