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Adventures in Rebranding: Dunkin Donuts Changes Name

“Donuts" is being dropped in favor of just “Dunkin’.”

Homer Simpson won’t be happy with Dunkin’ Donuts’ latest decision.

The 68-year-old chain announced on Tuesday that it will be changing its name to simply Dunkin’ in an effort to rebrand itself as a “beverage-led” company, focusing on coffees, teas, speedy service and to-go food. Starting in January, Dunkin' Donuts will drop the "Donuts" from advertising, packaging and signage at new and remodeled stores, as well as its social media accounts, CNN reported.

Munchkin lovers need not fret, though, as doughnuts will still be on the menu. After all, the top U.S. retailer of doughnuts sells 2.9 billion of the baked goods each year worldwide, according to USA Today.

“By simplifying and modernizing our name, while still paying homage to our heritage, we have an opportunity to create an incredible new energy for Dunkin’, both in and outside our stores,” Tony Weisman, U.S. chief marketing officer at Dunkin’, said in a statement. “While donuts may no longer appear in our logo, we remain committed to serving our signature donuts and will continue to offer new and seasonal varieties to delight donut lovers everywhere.”

With coffee and other drinks accounting for 60% of its sales, the company has contemplated a name change for a while. Last year, it tested the Dunkin’ logo on a new store in Pasadena, CA, and this past January, it used the logo on another new store in in Quincy, MA – birthplace of the original Dunkin’ Donuts.

Patrons of the Quincy location have gotten a glimpse into the Dunkin’ future: the store includes digital kiosks, an expanded Grab & Go section, and a drive-thru that lets customers cut the line if they ordered ahead on the app, CNN reported. Employees wear new uniforms emblazoned with slogans like “Fueled by Positive Energy” and “Drink Coffee. Be Awesome.”

In April, Dunkin’ replaced marketing agency Hill Holliday, which had handled creative responsibilities for the brand since 1998 and introduced the “America Runs on Dunkin’” tagline. BBDO Worldwide has since taken over advertising strategy and creation, while Publicis Groupe's ARC/Leo Burnett handles retail and in-store marketing, according to AdAge.

In order to promote the name change, creative agency Jones Knowles Ritchie has developed a social media campaign that includes giving people the chance to win Dunkin' friendship bracelets.

Dunkin’ is the latest company to announce a name change this week, joining Weight Watchers (WW) and Michael Kors (Capri Holdings). Each of these brands wants to expand their appearance and offerings, refusing to limit themselves in the eyes of consumers. Of course, rebranding efforts are opportunities for distributors to help push a new logo, message or vision with the use of promotional products.
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