- Dunkin' launched a social media campaign to promote a limited-edition menu item inspired by the favorite coffee drink of Charli D'Amelio, the most popular person on social video app TikTok with 84 million followers, the company said in an email to Mobile Marketer. "The Charli," which consists of cold brew coffee with whole milk and caramel syrup, was announced by D'Amelio on her social channels and via paid media on Snapchat and Instagram.
- As part of the promotion, Dunkin' on Sept. 9 will unveil the Charli x Dunkin' contest that asks Instagram users to post pictures of themselves recreating an "iconic Charli x Dunkin' moment" with the #CharliXDunkinContest hashtag. Dunkin' on Sept. 19 — which is National Dance Day — will select five winners to meet D'Amelio in a video conference and get advice on making viral videos.
- Dunkin' also is asking TikTok users to share dance videos that use an original song inspired by "The Charli" as a soundtrack. Dunkin' this month will feature D'Amelio on its social channels, which will offer exclusive digital content including an augmented reality (AR) filter on Instagram and stickers. Members of the DD Perks rewards program will earn bonus points for ordering "The Charli" in the Dunkin' App until Sept. 4.
After receiving months of publicity every time 16-year-old D'Amelio received millions of views for videos that showed her sipping a Dunkin' iced coffee before doing a dance routine, the chain is formalizing its relationship to TikTok's most popular personality with its latest campaign. The campaign with D'Amelio is another sign of how influencer marketing has become more important for brands and their agency partners in reaching younger consumers. It also points to how influencers can be part of a broader campaign that coordinates media buying with user-generated content and social engagement as opposed to the typical one-off contest that many brands resort to when working with influencers. Dunkin' worked with creative agency BBDO NY on the campaign as well as DDOne, a bespoke Publicis Media agency.
By collaborating with D'Amelio on a menu item named after her and a social media campaign to promote it, Dunkin' can reach a Generation Z audience that's elusive to other media channels. Instagram and TikTok are two of most popular apps among Generation Z, which has increased social media usage to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic.
Generation Z and millennial consumers tend to follow influencers they see as most relatable and authentic. When deciding to follow an influencer, 89% of young consumers said it's important that the influencer seems like a nice person, while 86% want to feel that the influencer "isn't just trying to sell them something," per a survey by market researcher Cassandra. The pandemic led to a slight dip in influencer campaigns in March, but there have been signs of a gradual recovery since then as marketers needed fresh creative to target homebound consumers, a recent Forrester study indicated. Before the health crisis, spending on influencer marketing was on track to reach $9.7 billion in 2020, with 66% of marketers saying they would boost their influencer budgets, per a survey by CreatorIQ and Influencer Marketing Hub.
The campaign for "The Charli" can help Dunkin' to drive downloads for its Dunkin' App and memberships in its DD Perks rewards program as the company seeks to bounce back from a drop in sales as fewer people picked up breakfast on the way to work during the pandemic. Revenue fell 20% to $287.4 million in Q2 from a year earlier, as same-store sales declined 19% in the U.S., per the company's quarterly earnings announcement. Dunkin' experienced a gradual improvement in same-store sales during the quarter as lockdowns eased.
Dunkin' is likely to boost its digital marketing activity after marketing executive Philip Auerbach joined parent company Dunkin' Brands Group in the newly created role chief digital and strategy officer. Auerbach oversees a team dedicated to digital marketing and media, consumer and business insights and the restaurant group's IT transformation. Dunkin's recent campaigns have included last month's introduction of a branded recreational vehicle to promote its line of iced tea drinks. The company ran a contest that gave a winner a chance to win use of the RV for a week.