Dunkin’ Positions Coffee as ‘Perfect Afternoon Comeback’

NEW YORK As Starbucks hikes its prices this month, coffee rival Dunkin’ Donuts will try to persuade consumers to carve out a time to enjoy a java break in a $25 million campaign from Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.

Dunkin’s TV and print effort supports the chain’s espresso drinks, primarily Hot Lattes. One commercial shows a doorman having a bad day in which a dog bites his pant leg and he gets splashed by a passing car in the rain. The day only improves when a co-worker hands him a Hot Latte, which the voiceover calls “the perfect afternoon comeback.” Then the rain stops. Another ad shows a mom having a similarly rough day, which is salvaged with a Hot Latte.

The work is tagged “Bring yourself back.”

Patrick Reynolds, an svp at Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holiday in Boston, said future ads will focus on the morning instead of the afternoon, but “the idea will be the same.”

The ads represent the first effort from Dunkin’ to put coffee at the forefront. “It’s really a proactive declaration of what we’re about,” said Reynolds.

Another Starbucks rival, Eight O’Clock Coffee, is launching its first national TV effort, via Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, presenting the coffee as a cure for feeling a bit off. In one spot, women’s pro basketball star Diana Taurasi’s shot is off target until she enjoys her first taste of the product. Tag: “Wake up. It’s Eight O’Clock.”

The efforts come as Starbucks raised the prices of its drinks about 11 cents a cup this month.