Friday, September 15, 2006

Dunkin’ Donuts and National Sports Sponsorships

I was reading recently that “Dunkin' Donuts plans to open 10,000 new stores around the U.S. by 2020. It also intends to add 325 stores in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore by 2010. A similar announcement has already been made in Chicago, and several more are in the works around the country. Dunkin' Donuts currently has 4,400 stores, compared with 8,600 for the more upscale Starbucks.”

The Company has had a lot of success with its sports sponsorship activities in the Northeast. Most sports fans know about their Dunkin’ Donuts seats at Fenway or their sponsorships with the Garden and the Pats. During every Sox home game, Jerry Remy makes sure to highlight the kids who are sitting in the Dunkin’ Donuts seats. This is great branding for the company/

With all the success they have had, why don’t they purchase a national sponsorship? I understand it will be expensive, but from a branding and relationship building aspect, this is an ideal way to connect with new customers. Traditional forms of advertising are not connecting with consumers like it did in the past.

Recently franchisees’ have opened Dunkin’ Donuts shops down south. People were excited about the donuts, but didn’t have a clue about the coffee. Most kids who are born in New England know about the importance of Dunkin’ coffee has on adults by the time they turn three.

Why don’t they develop a sponsorship with NASCAR? They don’t have to sponsor a whole team. Maybe Dunkin’ could be an associate sponsor on a team or maybe it could purchase a national sponsorship. We all know that NASCAR fans flock to products that are associated with the sport.

Dunkin’ should also consider sponsoring a golf tournament or even a fishing tournament down south to help raise awareness of the brand if the company plans to compete with Starbucks. They need to sponsor sporting events that are important to people in the region.

From what I have heard, Dunkin’ does not plan to role out a national sports marketing plan which I believe is a bad idea. This will hurt the company’s U.S. expansion in the long term.


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