Dunkin' Donuts, Milky Way Heat Up Hockey Games

Dunkin' Donuts is advertising its latest line extension with a cold, hard look at those in the bleachers at a Pee Wee hockey game. B-r-r-r!

A catchy tune--"I can't feel my hands, I'm freezing at Pee Wee hockey"--plays as the camera pans the players and the friends and relatives in the stands, all in black and white, until in the distance we see colorful cups of Dunkin' Donuts drinks being brought into the arena. The voiceover says: "Introducing new Milky Way-brand hot chocolate."

Yes, Dunkin' is partnering with Mars on three new chocolate menu items--the hot chocolate, an M&M's donut and Dunkin's Triple Chocolate Muffin.

The 30-second ad broke last week on spot TV and spot radio in Dunkin's core markets as well as in those markets--particularly south and west of its New England headquarters, where it is trying to grow.

Ryan Bowling, a spokesperson for Mars, says the company responded to Dunkin's invitation to partner because "our target demo [35- to-49-year-olds, mostly male] lined up. It's a very Americana group of consumers."

Mars is also looking to build more awareness of the Milky Way brand, Bowling tells Marketing Daily, particularly as it has recently launched a limited-edition Milky Way bar with more caramel. "We've been kind of dormant with Milky Way," he admits.

According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, Mars spent $6.8 million on advertising the Milky Way bar in 2006 and $5.3 million for the first 10 months of 2007.

Another reason for the partnership, he says, is that the company is celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Milky Way this year, with a "unique PR campaign" to come.

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