- Dunkin’ plans to name Leo Burnett its lead creative agency, clouding current partner Anomaly’s future with the quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain, Adweek reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter.
- Anomaly won the account in November 2021, a decision made under the tenure of Dunkin’s prior CMO Rafael Acevedo, who split ways with the brand last March. Company veteran Jill McVicar Nelson took the marketing reins at Dunkin’ in September.
- Recent developments lend credence to the idea that Anomaly’s relationship with Dunkin’ is troubled. The Stagwell shop started the year by laying off 8% of U.S. staff, citing a “significant reduction” in work coming from Dunkin’ as a factor, Ad Age reported.
When Anomaly scored the Dunkin’ business, it was tasked with modernizing the brand’s ethos following a period of pandemic-driven transformation. Less than two years later, the Inspire Brands chain appears to want a change in creative direction even as it continues to pursue that goal and the loyalty of fickle Gen Z consumers.
Adweek said it’s unclear what Dunkin’s relationship with Anomaly will be once its current projects with the agency are completed. But prior reporting confirms that Anomaly is already feeling the strain from cutbacks in its Dunkin’ work. The news also arrives at a time when macroeconomic pressures are affecting marketing spending and pinching agency production.
Dunkin’ did not immediately respond to Marketing Dive’s request for comment regarding the Leo Burnett appointment. This story will be updated pending a response.
Dunkin’ picked Anomaly as its agency of record under the leadership of Acevedo, an outsider with prior experience at Coca-Cola. The executive filled a CMO spot that had been vacant for years, but only lasted nine months at the QSR. Dunkin’ has since handed off top marketing duties to Nelson, who has over a decade of experience at the company and played a key part in designing a Blueprint for Growth strategy that saw the word “Donuts” eventually dropped from the brand’s name.
Like a lot of the restaurant category, Dunkin’ is tasked with rethinking its operations to better recognize mobile and digital ordering habits accelerated by the pandemic while also trying to stay on the ball with young consumers who are increasingly averse to traditional advertising. The marketer has invested more heavily in TikTok, including through a successful partnership with Charli D’Amelio, one of the video-sharing app’s most popular creators.
Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett vied for the Dunkin’ account both during the review Anomaly ended up winning and in 2018, when BBDO came out on top, according to Adweek. The fast agency changeover in recent years stands in stark contrast to Dunkin’s previous relationship with Hill Holliday, which spanned over two decades.
Correction: A prior version of this story misnamed Anomaly’s owner. The correct name of the company is Stagwell.