Running on Dunkin: How a Donuts Company Repositioned Itself

In light of Dunkin Donuts’ decision to be publicly traded, I’ve decided to look at how the relatively new catch-phrase, “America runs on Dunkin” changed the perception of being an unhealthy donuts shop to becoming a socially acceptable coffee shop. For more information on the Dunkin Donuts IPO, you can check out the Wall Street Journal article on “Everything You Need to Know” regarding the recent decision.

Dunkin Donuts isn’t the only company that offers coffee with its junk food, but its slogan shifted the focus of its advertising from the donuts to the coffee and it is paying off. According to the quoted Wall Street Journal article on Dunkin Donuts, 60 percent of U.S. sales come from coffee and other beverages. DD only had to learn from the McDonald’s controversy where the fast food giant faced several lawsuits for selling unhealthy food in order to figure out that focusing a marketing strategy around donuts would not be wise. Whether or not you feel that the lawsuits against McDonald’s were justified, you can’t argue the amount of negative publicity the company suffered because of these lawsuits. Although McD’s now sells healthy food, the company is too closely tied to Big Macs and the phrase, “super size me,” to successfully reposition itself.

In other words, be associated as unhealthy and your brand will be damned.

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