By Barry Janoff
April 30, 2014: Dunkin' Donuts is no stranger to sports and athletes, which are as much a part of the brand's sales, growth, marketing and activations as coffee and donuts.
The Canton, Mass.-based quick-serve restaurant is or has been especially tight with teams and athletes in New England, the most recent example of which came this week when Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz signed a deal with them.
Ortiz, who appeared in a Dunkin' Donuts' "What Are You Drinkin'?" campaign in 2011 along with three other players and then Red Sox manager Terry Francona, said the new deal would put him in TV and radio spots, as well as Internet and social media destinations, to support iced coffee and other beverages.
"BIG news: I’m the new Dunkin’ Donuts spokesperson," Ortiz posted on his Twitter account this week. "Lots of Iced Coffees in my future! Follow @DunkinBoston & look for my commercials soon."
The fact that baseball season is in full swing, however, has not prevented Dunkiin' Donuts from activating a promotion with company spokesman Eli Manning, quarterback for the New York Giants, with whom the brand also has an official alliance.
Customers at participating locations who purchase medium or large iced beverages will find an On-Cup Instant Win Game code number under a label attached to their cup, which could lead to the opportunity to have a meet-and-greet with the two-time Super Bowl MVP or the grand prize of appearing in an upcoming Dunkin' Donuts commercial with Manning. Other prizes include free or discounted food items. (Details here.)
"We have learned that the Dunkin' brand has permission to go into almost any category as long as it falls into being great food at a great value in a fast, friendly and convenient environment," John Costello, president-global marketing and innovation for Dunkin' Brands, told analysts earlier this year,
This past January, Dunkin' Donuts signed a deal with Liverpool FC of the Barclays English Premier league, which made Dunkin' Donuts the official coffee, tea and bakery partner (and sibling Baskin-Robbins the official ice cream partner).
The alliance came via a long-standing marketing relationship Dunkin' Donuts has had with Fenway Sports Group, owner of Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox. It filled the marketing pitch for both parties, enhancing both the soccer club's strategy to expand alliances in the U.S. and worldwide, and Dunkin' Donuts' plans to entrench its brand with consumers in the U.K.
According to Costello, "We look forward to working with Liverpool FC on a number of exciting marketing initiatives and engaging with football fans worldwide in the coming years through this partnership."
As part of its global moves, Dunkin' Brands Group in 2012 signed NBA all-star LeBron James to a multi-year, multimillion-dollar to promote the brand in China, India, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Among others, Dunkin' Donuts is also an official partner with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, MLS Chicago Fire, MLB's New York Yankees and New York Mets and the NHL's Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals.
In addition, the brand is a marketing partner of the TCS New York City Marathon; and has naming rights to the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI, home to the the Providence Bruins, the AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins; and the Providence College Division I Men’s Basketball team.
On it's menu, Dunkin' Donuts this week partnered with the Arizona Beverages and Arnold Palmer Enterprises to introduce the Frozen Arnold Palmer Coolatta, based on the original half iced tea, half lemonade beverage created by the iconic golfer. It will be available at participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants nationwide through the summer months,
Combined with its other efforts, these sports alliances appear to be scoring for the brand.
Dunkin' Donuts Group said it plans to increase its store count in the U.S. to 15,000 in the next 18-20 years, nearly double the number it now has.
In February, for the eighth consecutive year, Dunkin’ Donuts was ranked No. 1 in customer loyalty in the coffee category by the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, conducted under the auspices of Brand Keys, New York.
According to Robert Passikoff, president for Brand Keys, “They’ve been No. 1 in our Customer Loyalty Engagement Index in the coffee category for eight years in a row, and No. 1 in the packaged coffee category for two consecutive years. This is an accomplishment achieved through great products and meaningful differentiation that clearly resonates with the consumer.”
Dunkin' Brands said it has more than 18,000 points of distribution in nearly 60 countries worldwide, including nearly 11,000 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in 33 countries. In 2013, Dunkin' Brands opened 790 net new restaurants around the world, with 415 of these restaurants located outside the U.S., per the company.
In March, Dunkin' Donuts signed an agreement with OLH Group for the development of 65 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in the Brasilia and Goias areas over the next several years. Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup in June-July and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Dunkin' Donuts Has A Sweet Tooth For Liverpool Fans, Consumers
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