Dunkin' Beats Starbucks House, Not Pike Place

  • by October 20, 2008
Dunkin Donuts campaign Dunkin' Donuts' new ad campaign, launched Monday, boasts of its coffee having beaten Starbucks decisively in an independently conducted double-blind taste test.

Notably, the test, conducted in May and June, pitted Dunkin Donuts' Original Blend against Starbucks House Blend, not against the milder Pike Place Roast--introduced as Starbucks' everyday coffee just a month earlier in the face of increased competition from Dunkin' Donuts and others.

Dunkin' Donuts said it tested each chain's "most popular flavor" but did not specify how it arrived at its rival's winner. Starbucks did not respond to a Marketing Daily query seeking clarification. This reporter, ordering a regular coffee from a neighborhood Starbucks, was served Pike Place Roast--not House Blend, which was not on the menu.

A&G Research, Inc., backed by Al Ossip Marketing Research Consulting, conducted the taste tests of 476 adult coffee drinkers over a two-month period in 10 major markets, including Starbucks' home turf, Seattle. Dunkin' Donuts said A&G purchased fresh packaged coffee in each brand's stores, brewed it using equipment recommended by each brand, and then served it black.



The results found that 54% of participants preferred Dunkin' Donuts coffee to 39% who chose Starbucks. Undecided voters came in at 6%.

The new Dunkin' Donuts ad campaign, with creative and media buying from Hill Holliday, will run on TV, radio, online and in-store through the month. In the TV spot, a poll-taker seeks the coffee preferences of hardworking Americans and makes a checkmark on a clipboard to illustrate the results.

A new microsite,, was designed by digital agency Studiocom and also launched Monday. Headlined "The Truth is Out," it includes two sections: "Spread the Truth" and "Learn the Truth."

With "Spread the Truth," users have a choice of three ecards to send to their "less fortunate Starbucks friends." The messages are:

• Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks

• Hate to say I told you so

• The truth is out.

"Learn the Truth" explains what goes into Dunkin' Donuts coffee and leads readers to two special offers, including a 99-cent latte from 2 to 5 p.m.

"It's just more proof it's all about the coffee (not the couches or music)," declares the microsite.

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