Krispy Kreme Takes All of Its Marketing In-House

By Patrick Coffee 

Remember Krispy Kreme? We always preferred its dough to that of Dunkin’, and we regret the fact that New York City’s only KK location happens to be in the middle of Penn Station, better known as The Worst Place on Earth.

Krispy began closing its stores around the country in 2009 before hiring a new CMO who (surprise surprise) promised to keep costs down by sticking with unpaid social media campaigns to satisfy its marketing needs.

Over the next four years, KK inspired plenty of headlines regarding a “comeback” before launching a digital creative review to accelerate that return to form (according to Technomic, the company “posted U.S. systemwide sales of $626 million, up an impressive 9.9%”).


The winner of the review was VML, which scored the business in early 2014; the client claimed that a dozen agencies participated. The rest of 2014 was a little uneven, with stock bumps followed by “disappointing sales growth” during the fourth quarter, and now Krispy Kreme has decided to take the next logical step by cutting all ties to its agencies and taking the whole thing in-house.

Sound familiar?

From the client:

“Krispy Kreme engaged VML last year to do strategic and foundational work in the areas of digital and social media.  We think that those efforts have set us up for success going forward. As such, we plan to manage digital and social media using in-house resources at this time.”

Reads like KK hired VML in the interest of better positioning itself to break away, doesn’t it?

The brand recently expanded into the coffee market by launching cold beverages and partnering with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters on the K-cup front, but this passage from a March press release may hold the key to its future success:

“More than 70% of total Krispy Kreme locations are now outside of the U.S., and the company plans to increase international locations by 14% this year.”

Seems like the U.S. would be a great place to plan a stunt involving a box of 2,400 donuts, but we weren’t so lucky. *Insert your worst fat cops joke here.*