Dunkin' Donuts tries new tag

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Nearly a year since scrapping its lighthearted "Loosen up a little" tagline following the events of Sept. 11, Dunkin' Donuts has found a new theme.

"The appropriateness of that line was a little more than we could deal with," said Ken Kimmel, VP-Dunkin' Donuts Concepts.

This week, the $2 billion chain will begin airing TV and radio spots that position its coffee drinks, donuts and sandwiches as "Just the thing" for consumers to escape from everyday cares.

The first of a dozen or so new spots via Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulous, Boston, are part of $68 million campaign that breaks today in the Boston area. They will be followed by another regional campaign starring Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Then the campaign will air nationwide in October-the marketer's first network buy-including a product placement on CBS' "Big Brother."

"We were already making a focus back to products that fit the Dunkin' brand, not as a destination but as a place with a variety of products to get you through your [day]" said Marty Donohue, exec VP-executive creative director at Hill, Holliday. "The creature comforts Dunkin' Donuts was providing was just the thing," he added.

New creative shows people not taking life too seriously, but minus the edge. In one spot, a man sneaks a bite from a fellow commuter's donut. That's in contrast to an earlier spot that showed a woman draw a smiley face in cream cheese on a man's jacket after he admonished her for bumping into him.

As for the upcoming Sept. 11 anniversary, the chain plans to go dark that day. "As we learn more about what may happen with other programming [around that time] that may change," said Mr. Kimmel.

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