The National Dunkin’ Day Campaign Boosted Foot Traffic and Social Mentions

Inside the push to get people in stores for coffee and post emojis about coffee

Dunkin' successfully took over National Coffee Day with latest campaign. Dunkin'
Headshot of Richard Collings

Dunkin’ largely succeeded in its bid to transform National Coffee Day on Sept. 29 into National Dunkin’ Day with an increase in both social media mentions and foot traffic.

The donut, sandwich and coffee chain saw its name appear in 57% of branded National Coffee Day mentions on Twitter, the company told Adweek. Dunkin’ also effectively lured in customers into its stores, with foot traffic during the day up 10% year-over-year (compared with declines of above 20% on the day before and the day after), according to data provided by Placer. ai.

The numbers were boosted by the coffee purveyor’s latest ad campaign, which called for replacing the word coffee in National Coffee Day with Dunkin’, and a promotional offering consisting of a free medium hot or iced coffee with every purchase.

The restaurant chain also said the increased foot traffic due to the promotional offering provided a major boost to food sales.

Meanwhile, the company’s branded merchandise website nearly sold out of its apparel in 48 hours or less, with its tote bag and sweatshirt selling out within the first few hours alone.

Drayton Martin, vp of brand stewardship said for fans of the brand, its name is synonymous with coffee, so it followed that National Coffee Day should really be National Dunkin’ Day. Part of the aim of the campaign was to remind coffee drinkers that Dunkin’ is still there for them, despite the changes wrought by the pandemic, she told Adweek.

“While consumers’ habits changed during the pandemic, their need for coffee didn’t,” Martin said. “They were craving Dunkin’ because we represented their normal.”

In tandem, the restaurant chain also put together care packages or kits—consisting of items such as a tote bag, K-Cup pods, packaged coffee, Post cereal made with Dunkin’ coffee, masks and temporary tattoos—which fans could vie for by posting an emoji that best described themselves before having their coffee. It would be sent to 100 randomly selected customers. The response was immense.

“You would have thought we were giving away a million dollars,” Martin said.

The push on National Coffee Day is just the latest of Dunkin’s efforts to get customers return to its stores after the restaurant sector was hard hit by Covid-19.

For one, the brand partnered with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, launching a cold brew beverage in her honor called The Charli. It is also increasing its plant-based alternatives to dairy milk, rolling out oatmilk to its locations across the U.S. and partnering with Harpoon Brewing to create beers such as a Jelly Donut IPA and a Boston Kreme Stout.

The Fans. The Brands. Social Good. The Future of Sports. Don't miss the upcoming Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit and Upfronts, a live virtual experience on Nov. 16-19. Early-bird passes available until Oct. 26. Register now

@RichCollings Richard Collings is a retail reporter at Adweek.