A Hole in Dunkin Donuts' Cause Marketing

I snapped this picture yesterday at Dunkin Donuts, which is about 100 yards from my office (Grateful, but why can't it be a Starbucks? ;)). On September 21, Dunkin is executing a classic form of cause promotion with their Purple With A Purpose campaign.

To show their support for World Alzheimer's Day on Tuesday, 1,100 Dunkin locations across Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire will be offering Purple With A Purpose donuts.

And Dunkin is adding even more dough by contributing $10,000 from its foundation to the Alzheimer's Association (AA).

This is a nice promotion for AA, and Dunkin is a generous community partner.

But for me this is a promotion of last resort--day old donuts if you will--and one reason why I don't include cause promotion in my definition of cause marketing.

The reason is simple: there's no money in it.

While I've heard that donut sales are only a fraction of Dunkin's total revenues--coffee leads the pack--a percentage of sales program involving doughy treats for just a week or two at 1,100 Dunkin stores would raise a lot more than $10,000 and get more promotion if employees were engaged in the ask.

Another missed opportunity is with AA's efforts--as stated on its homepage--to reach 1,500 Facebook likes by September 21st. Dunkin could have helped with a Facebook coupon for a free donut in exchange for a like on the AA Facebook page. That would have been a great promotion for Dunkin stores!

Purple With A Purpose is a good cause promotion. But it will be a flash in the pan compared to a transactional campaign that would raise lots of dough. It also comes up short compared to a campaign that has a connection with Facebook.

At least with Facebook you have the chance gain a friend that might stay longer than it takes for him or her to eat a donut.