Valentine’s Day Marketing Strategies: Dunkin’ Donuts

What do donuts and Valentine’s Day have in common? They are sweet. Like all savvy marketers this season, Dunkin’ Donuts take advantage of the opportunity to entice new customers with special offers, themed menus, love stories and… special deliveries: one Philadelphia-area Valentine will receive a special Valentine’s Day delivery from Dunkin’ Donuts, including one dozen “Cupid’s Choice” heart-shaped donuts, one dozen Cocoa Donuts, one dozen roses, a Dunkin’ Donuts Box ‘O Joe and tickets to an upcoming Philadelphia-area college basketball game (chosen by sponsor), all delivered by the Dunkin’ Donuts mascot on Valentine’s Day.

This is Dunkin’ Donuts’ marketing strategy for this special day – it may not sound like much, but it could be effective, with the right push. Not that Dunkin’ Donuts Greater Philadelphia spent a fortune on the campaign, but they don’t need to. A Facebook account with 65 followers at the time of this article is a start, but not enough to make the campaign popular. A not-so strong Twitter account shows however that Dunkin Philly know how to engage their community: more than broadcasting, the conversation is there. But these two social media presences are not enough to make a good media push.

Dunkin’ Philly’s Cupid’s Choice

So Dunkin’ Donuts Greater Philadelphia had to consider a more traditional approach: the press release. Distributed through a powerful outlet like Business Wire, the press release Dunkin’ Donuts in Greater Philadelphia Invites You to Nominate Your Valentine as “Cupid’s Choice” for a Special Valentine’s Day Delivery got at least our attention.

There are a few aspects opened to constructive criticism, like the too-long-title that doesn’t “sell” which opens the press release. Then, the contest idea is good, however, the execution is rather poor: it requires too much effort from the customer, including an invitation to submit a nomination that is original, relevant and more importantly well written: “entries will be judged on the following criteria: written expression (40%), originality (40%) and relevance to the theme (20%).”

Then, participants must familiarize with rules, conditions, terms and privacy policy, but in the end, Dunkin’ Donuts makes it clear that the jury is a subjective bunch: If we post a “Tweet” or message of the day, week, etc., or tell you we are going to pick our “fav” response to something, we get to pick the one we like. Period.

So with the contest open to debate, Dunkin’ would have been better served to announce their new specials first: a Cupid’s Choice heart-shaped donut, filled with Bavarian Kreme, topped with strawberry icing and a festive mix of pink, white and red heart-shaped sprinkles.

And since February is “Chocolate Lovers Month” the company is also unveiling a new line of yeast raised chocolate donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts Greater Philadelphia is not the only Dunkin’ Donuts franchise with a Valentine’s Day offer. Restaurants nationwide will offer the Cupid’s Choice and several varieties of the new Cocoa Donuts.

Weber Shandwick and Fleishman Hillard are among many PR agencies who have worked with this brand.

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