Effie Case Study: “Sipping Is Believing”

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Effie Case Study: “Sipping Is Believing”

By Michael Applebaum - 09/14/2020

Marketer: Dunkin’ Brands

Agency: BBDO

Effie Commerce & Shopper Categories: New Product/Service Introduction (Winner); Challenger Brand Solutions (Finalist)

Espresso-based beverages are the future of the coffee category, but Dunkin’ wasn’t getting its fair share of the business. Starbucks owned the segment, and Dunkin’s original product line (introduced in 2003) was a disappointment. Buoyed by investments in high-quality espresso machines, new formulations and packaging, Dunkin’ was ready to take on Starbucks again.

But first, Dunkin’ had to shift built-in negative perceptions. Internal research showed that only 42% of people thought of Dunkin’ when asked which brands they associate with great-tasting espresso, while 76% of people cited Starbucks. Still, there was an opportunity to target “switchers,” as 60% of Starbucks espresso customers also visited other coffee shops for their espresso within a given week.

Contrary to the stereotype of the wealthy Millennial Starbucks consumer, Dunkin’s target audience for the “Sipping Is Believing” campaign was a value-seeking, quality-conscious shopper who visits retailers like TJ Maxx, Target and Marshall’s. That discovery led Dunkin’ to borrow a key insight from TJ Maxx: People relish in the delight of finding something of high quality in an unexpected place.

Dunkin’ grounded the campaign in a new graphic identity featuring an exclamation point inspired by the iconic Dunkin’ apostrophe. To tap into the element of surprise, one activation fooled Portland, Maine, foodies by turning a Dunkin’ location into an artisan coffeehouse called “S!P.” A TV campaign celebrated the surprisingly delicious taste of the new line of espresso drinks using unexpected situations, such as a 10-year-old boy portraying a 48-year-old man. Out of home placements with images of lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos used catchy phrases like “Cappuccinoooooooh my gosh that’s good.” Dunkin’ ran a $2 offer for espresso-based drinks from 2-6 p.m., which was designed to drive mass trial.

The campaign’s first week drove the highest espresso comp sales since September 2016 (a 21% increase in the growth rate). Also in week one, hot espresso transactions increased by 66% and iced espresso transactions increased by more than 40%. The campaign drove a 4.9% lift in incremental store traffic, and Dunkin’s market share of total espresso coffee servings within QSR increased compared to the same time the previous year.

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