mADwoman advertising

September 28, 2009

Hill Holliday: Will They Bring Home the Bacon for Dunkin’ Donuts?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 7:01 pm

Hill Holliday is a fine advertising agency.  But their “piggy bank” commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts is unlikely to do anything the help the DD brand.

First, it suggests that what’s saved by choosing DD over Starbuck’s is only pennies. This understates one of the selling points of the product: compare a week’s breakfast at DD with a week at Starbuck’s, and you’re talkin’ foldin’ money.

Also, there’s only one way to get pennies out of a pink china piggy bank — smashing the pink piggy to bits with a hammer. Every time the piggies in this commercial clink against each other, I cringe, and find myself thinking more about how awful it would be to shatter these cute little creatures for a handful of pennies, than about the aroma of DD’s Hazelnut on a frosty Vermont morning

It’s also not going to help that the ad portrays farmers as stereotypical of ‘hicks,” despite rural people being part of DD’s customer base.

Also, pigs are associated with filth — not a positive association for a food product.

Most significantly — and we’re really surprised HH missed this —  Dunkin’ Donuts has been criticized for creating products that contribute to obesity.  Generally speaking, it’s best not to create commercials that link a product one is trying to promote with a possible negative consequence of using that product, in this case obesity, an image suggested by (a) using pigs and (b) having the pigs get fatter in the course of the commercial.  Already, more than a few Dunkin’ Donuts customers pause for a moment, and contemplate just how many calories that Bavarian Kreme donut that’s tempting them has*.  The mental image of a pig would raise the threshold of the impulse to buy.

This seems like a commercial written by people who themselves drink Starbuck’s, and who are mystified why DD coffee drinkers like me cheerfully drive past a dozen mermaid-festooned signs for a pink-n-orange drive-through.

*Only 250.  About the same as the average bowl of cereal with skim milk on it.  And, to my mind, worth every damn calorie.


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