Expanding an established brand into an existing segment



New all day menu items from Dunkin' Donuts.

New all day menu items from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Everyone in New England goes to Dunkin’ Donuts for their morning coffee;  Dunkin’s morning customers have an affinity for the brand like no other.  As enviable as this is, the company realized that long-term growth would need to come from sales throughout the day – the morning business was all but saturated.  Thus, Dunkin’ decided to launch flatbread sandwiches, iced tea and other “all day menu items.”  However, despite these new product offerings, getting their loyal customers to come back for a repeat visit later in the day posed significant challenges.

First, no one thought of Dunkin’ as a place for the afternoon.  Driving trial (and repeat trial) of the new menu items would be critical to break this perception, cultivate new habits and generate sustained sales growth.

Franchisees trepidation further complicated things.  Franchisees had just invested significant money on a new cook platform to make the new products – they needed to recoup their investment with profits from the new menu items, and thus did not want to be giving away products to sample.  They were also determined not to impact their core morning business, especially by slowing down the drive-thru;  their customers expect prompt service, and the morning was when the biggest profit margins were realized.

So, how do you generate trial (to a skeptical consumer base) while obtaining Franchisees buy-in to making the launch of their all day menu items a success?




After positioning the new products as great alternatives for on the go eating anytime of day, we developed and executed the perfect promotion to drive trial of Dunkin’s new menu items.  We partnered with another great franchise in New England, the Boston Red Sox, who were just beginning a new season after having won the World Series.

The promotion was “When the Red Sox Win, You Win!”  Here’s how it worked:  come into Dunkin’ anytime after 11am the day after a Red Sox win and get a free iced coffee or iced tea with the purchase of any new flatbread sandwich.

The target consumer was Dunkin’s morning customer;  they love the brand and would be the most open-minded to trying something new from Dunkin’.  Thus, the best way to reach this target was during their morning visit.  While we developed a great TV ad featuring Jonathon Papelbon, the Red Sox closing pitcher at the time, we also developed and executed integrated communication in-store and incentivized employees to drive awareness of the deal after every Red Sox win, encouraging morning customers to return later that day.






The promotion overcame all obstacles and worked on every level:

  • It was an appealing offer to consumers.
  • It drove repeated trial because the duration of the promotion continued through the entire baseball season.
  • It didn’t disrupt the already established morning business since the promotion was only after 11am.
  • It was profitable, and thus palatable for Franchisees because the required purchase combined food with a higher margin beverage.
  • It fostered fun and excitement in-stores, engaging customers and employees alike.

And most importantly, …

  • It generated incremental sales and profit by increasing PM visits!  Plus, …
  • It changed a consumer mindset and established Dunkin’ Donuts as a destination for great, quick beverages and food all times of day!

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