Dunkin’ Donuts Holds Closed Review

Deutsch and Hill, Holliday Are Only Contenders for MVBMS’ Business
NEW YORK–Dunkin’ Donuts last Thursday fired Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG here and is in talks with two agencies about its estimated $40 million account, sources said.
Edward “Eddie” Binder, vice president of marketing at Dunkin’ Donuts in Randolph, Mass., confirmed he was conducting a closed review and will select a new shop to handle creative and media buying chores within six weeks.
Binder declined to identify contenders. Sources said Dunkin’ Donuts has met with three agencies in recent weeks: neighboring Boston shop Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos as well as Deutsch and Cliff Freeman and Partners, both in New York. Sources said Cliff Freeman, a finalist in the review the company conducted in 1995, is no longer in contention and that the contest is now between Deutsch and Hill, Holliday. Deutsch handles Baskin-Robbins, which, like Dunkin’ Donuts, is owned by Allied Domecq.
MVBMS issued a brief statement the day after its dismissal: “Dunkin’ Donuts came to MVBMS in October 1995. They leave today enjoying double-digit sales increases, the highest in the quick-service restaurant industry. We wish them continued success.”
When asked why Dunkin’ Donuts would seek a new agency in the face of such gains, Binder said, “These decisions are never easy, but to continue in our efforts to grow, we need the right people inside and the right resources outside.”
Last year, MVBMS created TV spots featuring celebrities offering retirement advice to longtime pitchman Michael Vale, a.k.a. Fred the Baker.
Sources said problems arose soon after as the client and agency disagreed over creative direction. The next phase of work focused on the chain’s various breakfast offerings, with the tagline: “Something fresh is always brewin’ here.”
Ironically, the agency recently got the green light from the client to produce another round of ads.
Personality differences are also believed to have played a role in the split. –with Hank Kim