Friday, October 24, 2008

New Dunkin' Spots Say Chain Beats Starbucks on Taste

Dunkin' Donuts is going after Starbucks with a new campaign claiming it beats Starbucks on taste. Backing the claim with a company-commissioned "independent taste test," Dunkin has begun a round of broadcast spots from agency Hill Holliday, Boston.

Dunkin had a double-blind survey conducted by A&G Research this summer in 10 major cities, including Seattle. Of the 476 adults surveyed, 54% preferred Dunkin', 39% preferred Starbucks and 6% had no preference.

"The results of this independent taste test underscore what our customers have always known: Dunkin' Donuts quite simply serves the best cup of coffee in the country," said Frances Allen, Dunkin's brand-marketing officer, in a statement. "Dunkin' Donuts' 58-year heritage in coffee is unmatched by any other chain."

Dunkin' outspends Starbucks
Dunkin', a $5 billion private company, served 1.5 billion cups of coffee last year. Starbucks, a $9.4 billion public company, does not break out coffee sales by the cup. But Dunkin' is the bigger advertiser by far. According to TNS Media Intelligence, Dunkin' spent $107 million in measured media during 2007, compared to Starbucks' $38 million.

Dunkin has gone after Starbucks before, poking fun at the snob factor. At a dedicated microsite, This is similar to McDonald's, site in its Seattle launch of its McCafe coffee business with At that site, consumers could stage an "intervention" for friends who were spending too much on their coffee. At the Dunkin site, consumers can "spread the truth" by sending e-cards with messages like, "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks."

A proven tactic, Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, applauded the Dunkin' strategy, calling taste tests a tactic that has engaged consumers "since the dawn of time."

Dunkin' has “spent a good deal of time developing brand strategies having to do with quality and certainly with service, and certainly it's just implicit that they've got the price nailed pretty well. This kind of closes the loop for them," he said. "For the people who said, 'Well, the service is OK and I have to pay three times that at Starbucks, but I like the taste,' this is an answer to that."

Mr. Passikoff wasn't surprised by the survey's results, as his own organization named Dunkin' America's favorite cup of coffee following its annual brand-loyalty survey. The Brand Keys survey asked 26,000 regular coffee-drinking consumers to name their favorite cup. Dunkin' held the top spot, with an 8% edge on McDonald's coffee and a 10% margin on Starbucks. Krispy Kreme was a distant fourth.

Larson note: Now I know none of these people have ever been in the Larson’s kitchen to taste a real cup of coffee. Of course I don’t sell it buy the cup, but rather serve it to guests and clients. Of course, a plate of Mrs. Larson’s homemade cookies doesn’t hurt either.

Is this an area your company could learn from? Have you ever tried to do a blind comparison of your company’s products with the competition? If your company bakes cookies do a blind text. If your company makes jewelry, do a blind test. Be the best and you have nothing to fear. Would you win, or loose? If you can’t do a head to head test you can sometimes get the same type of face off at a Trade Show.

Speaking of Trade Shows, next Tuesday I will be at the Schaumburg (Illinois) Chamber of Commerce’s Trade show entitled Expo 2008 Experience the Energy on Wednesday October 29th. I’ll be out looking for new clients as well as seeing if there are any businesses worth partnerting with. If you are in the area it starts at 2pm and goes to 7pm at the Renaissance Schamburg Hotel & Convention Center. I’ll be there about 4:30pm. Buy me a cup of coffee and pick my (meager) brain if you want.

I refuse to participate in this recession!

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Telesales & Target Marketing Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

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