But John Giaquinto, manager of field marketing services, isn't giving up even one of his 20 Yaris. "TV crews really love them," he points out, "so it's more likely that we'll get on TV."
The eye-catching cars are the latest addition to Dunkin's fleet of vehicles used primarily for sampling at about 1,000 events a year, from the grand opening of a new shop to big-name concerts and festivals. Some of the fleet has been around for several years--and by sampling vehicle standards, they are novel, with steam rising from the top of white coffee cups, for example, in pink cars.
Giaquinto says the Canton, Mass.-based company used to send out only large vehicles, but decided to downsize to Yaris after gas prices began to rise. "We've made it to Phoenix but not [yet] to the West Coast," he says.
The orange Yarises--so admittedly difficult to say in the plural that they've taken to calling them Yarisi--have their back ends chopped off and then an iced coffee with a straw is inserted that holds equipment necessary for sampling events. "It's our best combination," Giaquinto says. "It draws impact and interest. It's utilitarian. There are no back seats, the 'cup' opens to hold equipment, and it can work with a larger vehicle or with a shop to keep it loaded."
"It draws incredible interest. I've driven around in one. You go into a convenience store and when you come out there are all kinds of people taking photographs," he says. "People say, 'That's my dream car!' It's frightening to drive. You have a trucker on one side, blowing his horn and pointing to his coffee and on the other a bunch of teenage girls plastered up against their car window taking pictures of you.
"It's amazing to see the power of the brand at work."