Dunkin’ Donuts Finds Success with Fan Photos

Marketing at Dunkin’ Donuts has certainly evolved beyond the “Time to make the donuts” guy in TV commercials of yore.

In the month of January, the coffee chain held campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to highlight its winter iced coffee drinkers. It’s the latest chapter for a brand that has established a slightly quirky persona for itself in social media and that speaks to a very loyal set of fans.

For three weeks beginning January 11, Dunkin’ Donuts’ nearly 44,000 Twitter followers were encouraged to participate in its “Twinter Games,” in which tweeting a specific hashtag and including requested information such as how participants like their iced coffee, entered them for a chance to win a $50 gift card. The phrases included “#3WordsAfterIcedCoffee,” “#MyIcedCoffee,” and “#IcedCoffeeTwitLibs.”

Tom Spicer, managing director at Studiocom, the interactive agency behind the campaigns, said, “We (wanted) to celebrate those people who are drinking iced coffee as a beverage of choice year-round and we want to play up the angle of the yeti – especially in colder regions.”

In conjunction, Dunkin’ also put an iced-coffee-themed spin on its Fan of the Week feature on Facebook. Calling it the “YeDDi of the Week” in homage to the yeti, Dunkin’ encouraged its over one million fans to upload photos of themselves with iced coffee in order to potentially be featured as the “YeDDi of the Week.”

David Tryder, director of interactive and relationship marketing at Dunkin’, said Dunkin’ picks fan photos based on what “best reflects the spirit of the YeDDi.”

“We don’t have any specific criteria other than creativity, fun and a passionate disposition for Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee,” he said.

There are nearly 1,900 fan photos posted on Dunkin’s’ fan page, but Tryder noted some fans post more than one photo, so it’s difficult to gauge the precise number of participants in these campaigns.

The company held a similar Facebook campaign last June, called “Keep it Coolatta,” that also asked customers to upload photos with a beverage.

“When ‘Keep It Coolatta’ ended, we realized we had all these great fan photos that were being posted to our Facebook Wall,” Tryder said. The recent campaigns were an effort, in part, to keep up the momentum.

Studiocom’s Spicer said Dunkin’ has grown its fan base organically without paid media or free giveaways. As a result, the brand’s fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter “are people who have a passion [and] a love for Dunkin’ Donuts.”

The guy behind Dunkin’ Dave, the brand’s Twitter persona, is David Puner, a communications manager at Dunkin’. He tweets things like, “YeDDi Sighting! RT @Samuel_Miller: Guy pushing a stroller in 0-degree weather had only a hoodie on, no gloves…& a DD iced coffee.”

“People seem to like having a real, live person within the brand that they can connect with,” Puner said.

While the “Keep It Coolatta” campaign offered giveaways like air conditioners, an iPhone, JetBlue vouchers and a flat screen TV, and the Twinter Games offered $50 gift cards, Tryder said the highlighted photo in YeDDi of the Week is a huge motivator in and of itself. “Social currency is powerful,” he says. “Even more so than giving folks money.”

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