Dunkin' Dazzles Broadway, With Hal Prince On Board
What do Broadway legends run on?
Well, at least one -- famed producer Harold “Hal” Prince -- gets some of his seemingly limitless energy from Dunkin’ Donuts.
It’s a scenario that is somewhat evocative of the book for a musical: QSR brand (standing in for usual stage ingénue) gets the attention of a major producer and goes on to fame on the Great White Way.
Prince, who’s a Dunkin’ fan and whose office is near Dunkin’s standing NYC 43rd Street billboard above One Times Square, noticed that the billboard was “Oh my, how drab” in comparison to the other exciting signage he viewed as he surveyed the square while walking through it, he tells Marketing Daily.
So Prince shot off a letter to that effect to Dunkin’ Brands CEO Nigel Travis (whom he did not know), suggesting that the brand deserved a jazzier, digital billboard with interactive features.
As it turned out, Dunkin’ was already working with agency Hill Holliday and other partners to create a digital billboard. And after a chat with Travis, Prince agreed to help Dunkin’ inaugurate the new billboard, says John Costello, chief global marketing and innovation officer for Dunkin’ Brands.
The team hustled to ensure that the digital billboard could be ready to debut on National Donut Day, June 1 -- and made the deadline.
Prince, as well as Travis, Costello and other Dunkin’ executives, were on hand Friday morning at the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square to ring NASDAQ’s opening bell, as well as to flip the switch to turn on Dunkin’s new billboard.
The billboard -- featuring animated branding and product images from Dunkin’, plus promotions for Prince’s newest musical-in-development (“Prince of Broadway, The Musical of a Lifetime”) –- allows for customization and interaction, says Costello.
Notably, those who “like” the brand on Dunkin’s Facebook page (which had 6.4 million-plus likes as of June 1) and have posted images of themselves, may have their images randomly chosen to be featured on the Times Square billboard. An integrated system enables Dunkin’ to notify fans when they will be appearing on the billboard, Costello reports.
Prince (no stranger to reviews) pronounces the new billboard “a knockout” -- and Costello says that Dunkin’ would “love” to collaborate with Prince to use the digital billboard to celebrate when Prince’s new musical opens in 2013. (The musical, according to Prince, has an opening number that spotlights how Times Square looked back in the 1950’s when he began his career, moving on through the decades to how it appears now.)
The billboard is the centerpiece of a multifaceted Dunkin’ marketing initiative launched around National Donut Day, which was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to honor women who had served donuts to World War I troops.
Dunkin’ also offered its customers a free donut of their choice with purchase of any beverage, and hosted a National Donut Day Twitter Sweepstakes, on June 1.
The sweeps challenged followers of @DunkinDonuts to answer trivia questions about Dunkin’s history. For each question, those who answered correctly and used the hashtag
#DDonut were entered for a chance to win a $50 Dunkin’ Donuts Card. (Six cards were rewarded during the day.)
All of these activations -- part of Dunkin’s long-running “America Runs on Dunkin’” marketing theme -- were designed to thank loyal Dunkin’ fans, says Costello.
In addition to the opening bell-ringing event, NASDAQ unofficially changed its name for the day to “NASDDAQ,” to incorporate Dunkin’s NDAQ S&P 500 symbol. (Dunkin’ Brands went public in July 2011.) NASDAQ’s logo was also changed to incorporate Dunkin’s pink-and-orange D’s, and its Q was changed to a donut image.