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Dunkin' Donuts is embarking on life after Fred the Baker, with a two-prong strategy that includes an umbrella brand-building message showing Dunkin' products as part of people's everyday lives.

The other element: quick-hitting product and discount offers.

In its continuing efforts to position itself as more than a doughnut shop, the chain is planning a product giveaway in March featuring a free bagel with cream cheese, no strings attached. In the summer, it will aggressively push Coolatta, Dunkin's lower-price version of tonier rival Starbucks Coffee Co.'s popular Frappuccino drink.

Both promotions will be supported with new creative from agency Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York.


Dunkin' Donuts, by far the largest doughnut chain in the U.S. with more than 3,700 units, plans to spend between $35 million and $40 million on U.S. advertising for the current fiscal year.

The chain is using the theme "Something fresh is always brewin' here" for TV spots reinforcing the positioning that it makes fresh products, serves good coffee and has new foods as well, said Edward Binder, VP-marketing.

In the pipeline are soups, new sandwiches and fruit drinks; in some markets, the chain is now featuring a new line of Danish and bagel sticks that may be rolled out to other markets.

"We're going to show . . . Dunkin' fits into people's lives in a way no other brand fits," said Mr. Binder, who called the chain a "democratic" brand targeted at people who work.

He said the coming free bagel promotion is designed to sustain growth over time rather than to create a flurry of activity for one event.

While :30s primarily will be used for the branding message, an increased number of :15s will tout the limited-time offers and promotions in a move to get more flexibility out of TV buys.


Messner recently completed three spots in the initial branding drive. One shows well-fed thirty something men in a kitchen eating doughnuts as they paint their bodies in preparation for a football game. The agency also has done a dozen :15s with close-ups of baked goods and coffee along with a value message.

"Whereas Fred always represented the backroom, the making of the product, now we are trying to start more of a dialogue with consumers, whether it is a product or a value price," said Ron Berger, creative director at the agency.


Dennis Lombardi, exec VP at restaurant consultancy Technomic, said a move beyond breakfast is good.

"It doesn't jeopardize their core-customer profile moving away from doughnuts and coffee," he said. "They've had reasonably good success with their bagel program. It's time to expand that and make it a stronger category through advertising."

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