With all the buzz Krispy Kreme has generated in recent years, you might think smaller competitors would be shaking in their donut batter these days.
Not so at LaMar's Donuts International. When that 40-store chain moved its headquarters from Nebraska to Denver this year, it decided to publicize the move by taking on Krispy Kreme in a blind taste test.
"We did this to go head-to-head, to pit David against Goliath," says Rosalee Roberts, president of an eponymous Omaha agency that worked on the event for LaMar's, along with Denver-based Vanguard Communications.
The Donut Duel was held September 17 at a Lamar's location in Denver.
To play things up, LaMar's called on an old stereotype and asked local police to be the donut-chomping judges.
Denver's Finest agreed to take part when LaMar's offered to donate 10% of local receipts each week to charities of the officers' choice. Even the police chief took part.
"They were really good sports about it, and saw an opportunity to raise some funds for charity," Roberts says.
Krispy Kreme declined, so Roberts hired an armored car to drive to a Krispy Kreme store, buy donuts, and deliver them to the judging site.
A line of firemen delivered the donuts to the judging table. Decorations included a banner reading: "Let's Get Ready to Crumble." An announcer did play-by-play, and the winner of each round of tasting was posted on a giant scoreboard.
The sight of policemen eating donuts for charity was apparently too good for the local media to pass up. All of Denver's TV stations either covered the tasting or used b-roll of the event. The duel garnered national attention from AP.
LaMar's says it wasn't sweating the competition. "You do take a chance," Roberts says of the tasting, "but they are magnificent donuts."
Given the big media play, Roberts expects LaMar's to hold further donut duels as it expands into new markets. While they're at it, they might work on expanding the waistlines of reporters, who could no doubt hold their own against the boys in blue in any donut derby.