CAMPAIGNS: Event PR - Donut shop goes hole hog for 50th

Client: Dunkin’ Donuts

Client: Dunkin’ Donuts

Client: Dunkin’ Donuts

PR Team: Cone (Randolph, MA)

Campaign: 50th Anniversary

Time Frame: March to May 2000 (first phase)

Budget: dollars 500,000

In March Dunkin’ Donuts marked 50 years of being a part of American

mornings and was eager to celebrate the milestone in a big way. For the

company’s ’Golden Anniversary,’ Cone - the company’s agency of record

since 1997 - decided to throw a party, national in scope and ’down home’

in flavor.


Cone’s assignment was to incorporate every aspect of the

50th-anniversary story: the legacy of its founder, 84-year-old Bill

Rosenberg; announcement of ’five-cent Mondays’ throughout March

(doughnuts for only a nickel); a vote to determine America’s favorite

flavor doughnut, which included a sweepstakes; and the introduction of

two limited-edition anniversary doughnut flavors (Strawberry Shortcake

and Black Forest). Building anticipation in the media and organizing a

large-scale event were key in promoting public awareness.


Three sets of fun, colorful teaser postcards alerted the press to a

’golden’ opportunity on the way in South Boston. Appealing to the

consumer, as well as creating a ’shimmering’ media opportunity, the

Dunkin’ Donuts shop in South Boston was transformed into gold, inside

and out - overnight.

On March 1, the ’Gold Shop’ was unveiled to the public. The event

honored long-time Dunkin’ Donuts employees and featured a speech by Bill

Rosenberg, a presentation by Dunkin’ diplomat Fred the Baker and a

festively decorated four-foot, five-tiered birthday cake. A motorcade of

vintage cars and trolleys wound its way through Boston to kick off the

party. Impersonators of 1950s stars (Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean)

stood among the crowd of hundreds surrounding the shop. These classic

details from the 1950s combined to create a nostalgic image of the era

when Dunkin’ Donuts was born.

In the weeks following the Gold Shop event, Cone organized Boston, New

York, Providence and Philadelphia media tours featuring Rosenberg. To

support the National Donut Vote, Dunkin’ Donuts employees and supporters

rallied on National Campaign Day, March 9, 2000. ’Donut Heads’ across

the country lobbied for votes in malls, on the streets of New York, even

on the steps to the State House in Boston.

Reaching out to media across the country, Cone presented a number of

photo opportunities, including campaigning Donut Heads in the outdoor

audience of Today in New York. Katie Couric distributed doughnuts to the

crowd while the entire Today crew, including Willard Scott and Al Roker,

wished Dunkin’ Donuts a happy anniversary. One month later, Rosenberg

traveled back to New York to announce the results of the Donut Vote on

CBS’ Early Show. While the Dunkin’ Donuts founder discussed the origin

of Munchkins with Mark McEwen, Donut Heads lined up to reveal the Donut

Vote winner: Boston Kreme.


The Rosenberg media tour featured interviews with CNBC, Bloomberg News,

Investor’s Business Daily and Parade Magazine.

Several local television affiliates set up live remotes from Dunkin’

Donuts shops on Mondays in March, and some reporters got hands-on

experience ’making the doughnuts,’ while others interviewed Dunkin’

Donuts’ customers.

The 50th anniversary celebrations drew in media on both a national and

local level, attaining over 700 media placements and 100,000,000 media


The event was featured in major television, radio and print outlets

across the country including CNN, National Public Radio and The Chicago


Over 200 newspapers featured AP wire photos from the event, and more

than 50 local television affiliates covered the story as well.


Dunkin’ Donuts recently signed Julie Foudy, captain of the US women’s

Olympic soccer team, as its new spokesperson. She will play a role in an

integrated marketing campaign that Cone is planning to launch this fall.

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