You could infer that Dunkin’ Donuts is a sports fanatic. It has sponsorships with a number of sports teams and recently changed up the marketing game for its 17-year sponsorship of the Boston Celtics.
The season-long game plan focuses on “high-energy,” both on the Dunkin’ customers who report an energy boost from the brand’s iced coffee and on the Celtics game plays.
The two-pronged promotion, handled by Fenway Sports Group, includes a new spin on the traditional 30-second half-time highlights. A “featurette,” will air during halftime and, for the first time, will incorporate players as spokespeople. Celtics point guard Ray Allen reinforces Dunkin’ coffee as a high-energy beverage as clips of “high-energy” plays are reviewed.
The second component puts Celtics’ cheerleaders and mascot “lucky” out across Massachusetts to find and surprise people drinking Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee with tickets to a Celtics game. During the “Caught Cold” promotion, also supported by radio, 500 hard-to-come-by tickets will be distributed.
Calling the plays is Tom Manchester, Dunkin’ Donuts director of field marketing.
PROMO: What was the thought process in developing the promotion?
MANCHESTER: We looked at a couple different tactics to move forward with the Celtics. We usually activate a lot of our sports sponsorships through events and advertising, so we wanted to try something different. We thought it was important to reward our guests for drinking Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and we know one of the biggest desires of Celtics fans is to actually go to a game.
PROMO: What research have you conducted to determine your customers are Celtics fans?
MANCHESTER: We do a lot of our own research so we know what their lifestyle interests are. We also get industry research from Scarborough [Research] and [Experian] Simmons that shows that in the Northeast the Celtics over-index as a lifestyle interest of Dunkin’ Donuts customers. So the outside research matches up with our research and that tells us that we have an opportunity to really leverage the Celtics as a conduit to connect the Dunkin’ brand with our customers’ lifestyle interests.
PROMO: Why iced coffee? It’s cold in the Northeast.
MANCHESTER: Customers tell us that they drink Dunkin’ iced coffee as a source of energy and some tell us they prefer our iced coffee to energy drinks and soft drinks to give them a boost because its fresher. It’s made that hour and it can be customized with a variety of flavors, the dairy and the sweetener. They drink it all year long.
PROMO: Why did you select Celtics point guard Ray Allen as your spokesperson?
MANCHESTER: We had a couple of different criteria: that [the player] has a high level of awareness among Celtic fans, and that he is very articulate, has a great image and a lot of energy.
PROMO: Where will the street teams look for customers?
MANCHESTER: Every Thursday throughout the regular and post season the teams will go all throughout Massachusetts to look for people drinking iced coffee and hand them Celtics tickets. We’re mixing it up with the locations. The teams will be at the drive through, in stores, at events such as kids’ soccer or hockey games, fall festivals and other locations. We’ve really tried to give away quality seats, a mix of balcony and loge.
PROMO: How is the program going?
MANCHESTER: Out of the blocks it’s really exceeded our expectations. The initial launch has gone really well. It has garnered us more media coverage than we thought it would and iced coffee sales have been strong. So that’s really the ways we’re going to measure the success of this program.
PROMO: How would you describe the marketing atmosphere with sports?
MANCHESTER: The world of sports is very crowded now particularly with sponsorships and folks that really want to use sports as a platform to reach targeted consumers. Their brand has to be innovative and very strategic to make sure they are staying on message and on their business plan because it is so hard in a crowded marketing place to connect what can we do differently to be successful.