Fast-food companies are suddenly worried about your waistline

Posted on Wed Jan 6 2010

It's a new year, and that means die-hard gym rats like myself are putting up with a flood of resolutionists (resolutionistas?) who've decided it's time to lose those extra 20 pounds. (If history is any guide, they'll be out of my way within a month.) But I can't blame them for being influenced by the annual wave of advertising from weight-loss products, fitness clubs and supplements that are nudging, shaming and/or frightening them to get off the couch and check their girth. But there's an unexpected new player in this game now: fast-food chains touting "low-cal" goods. Taco Bell, home to the fourthmeal (the one between dinner and breakfast) has rolled out a Drive-Thru Diet campaign, seemingly without a trace of irony. Dunkin' Donuts is pushing egg-white breakfast sandwiches. And Starbucks is promoting "skinny" lattes. (Subway's Jared is starting to look like the surgeon general by comparison.) For those "heavy users," the loyal backbone of the fast-food industry, it could be time to rejoice. For the rest of us, it's buyer beware.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Dunkin' Donuts says 'brokefast' is bad for you and your waistline

Posted on Mon Jun 8 2009

Dunkin' Donuts adds to the growing lexicon of Great Recession slang—a list that already includes "staycation" and "stimulus plan"—with "brokefast." Brokefast is the alternative to breakfast, and seems to mean eating nothing in the morning. In this latest spot from Hill, Holliday for Dunkin's 99-cent Wake Up Wrap, a man covetously eyes his female colleague's wrap in an elevator. He mentions that he's "tightening his belt," a phrase he seems to have taken literally—he looks like that woman in the Guinness Book of Records with the world's smallest waist. "You know that's just a saying, right?" the woman says. "You can't actually save money by doing that." Deadpan pause. "That's debatable." What's beyond debate, it seems, is that this guy is a putz and engaging in brokefast is silly when deals like this exist. But what about leanch?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Dunkin' Donuts hires 80 pounds of worms to lead recycling effort

Posted on Tue Feb 24 2009


In October, Dunkin' Donuts launched its first eco-friendly, LEED-certified restaurant in St. Petersburg, Fla. While that isn't too uncommon (even the raunchy Carl's Jr. is getting in on the green act), what is unusual is what lives behind the restaurant: a giant mound of horrifying, writhing, trash-eating red earthworms!
  The worms, some 80 pounds in all, spend their days in a container out back that looks like it might be used for fuel or trash. Workers at the restaurant throw trash, like coffee grounds and filters, into the squirming mass of soft-bodied invertebrates, which then create "worm castings" and "worm tea" (the excretions of the worm after it eats the garbage) that drains to the bottom of the container. No, Dunkin' will not be serving the worm tea anytime soon; it's being used as a fertilizer.
  My one thought is, after all that coffee, those must be some wired-ass worms.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

No, Dunkin' Donuts will not be sponsoring border-police efforts

Posted on Mon Feb 9 2009

Donut police

Cops and donuts. It's an easy punch line. Perhaps too easy for CBS Evening News reporter Steve Hartman to resist.
  According to the Texas Border Sherriff's Coalition, Hartman engaged in "sick humor" when he noted in a Feb. 6 report that Dunkin' Donuts was interested in sponsoring a coalition program that lets citizens act as "virtual deputies" to watch for illegal aliens crossing the U.S./Mexico border. (They're "virtual" because they watch from their home computers, which are linked to cameras mounted on poles near the border.) In the report, Hartman claimed that after the initial $2 million grant for the program runs out, "the coalition hopes to keep the site up by selling ads. And since it is a virtual stakeout, the first sponsor they're hoping to get is Dunkin' Donuts."
  But Don Reay, executive director at the TBSC, tells BrandFreak that's a load of hogwash. "That's something the reporter threw in," he says, noting that there are no Dunkin' outlets anywhere nearby. Neither Hartman nor reps from Dunkin' could be reached.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Arteries harden at news of the Dunkin' waffle-and-egg sandwich

Posted on Wed Feb 4 2009


If McDonald's can smack some meat and eggs between two pancakes and call it a McGriddle, why can't Dunkin' Donuts create a Waffle Breakfast Sandwich? Answer: They can, and they did. Through St. Patrick's Day, consumers can get cherrywood smoked bacon, scrambled eggs and American cheese nestled between two maple-infused waffles. The Dunkin' Brands executive chef (who knew they had one?) said in a statement that this is a meal "that conveys the warmth and satisfaction of an old-fashioned, at-home breakfast." Yes, indeed it harkens back to the day when the average life expectancy was around 50.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Sorry your beloved team choked. Here, have a free doughnut

Posted on Mon Feb 2 2009

Donut copy

Dunkin' Donuts is hoping to ease pain of Arizona Cardinals fans who are still wondering how Santonio Holmes made that catch. On Tuesday, any and all Dunkin' consumers in Phoenix will get a free doughnut with the purchase of a beverage. This is part of Dunkin's new, relentlessly optimistic "You kin' do it" ad campaign. The press release says: "The end of football season leaves a big hole for all fans, but no one hurts more than fans in the city that lost the championship." And as we all know, there is no better cure for depression than sinking into some fatty foods.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Maybe brands shouldn't be quite so excited about Obama

Posted on Fri Jan 16 2009

Brand-obama copy

Red, white and blue donuts at Dunkin' Donuts. Limited-edition inaugural collector's packs of nuts from Planters. "Yes Pecan" ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. These are just a few examples of brands attempting to latch onto Obama-mania. Indeed, a good part of the country is ready for a change and jazzed for the inauguration. Pepsi, T.G.I. Friday's and Ikea certainly are.
  But the reality is, 43 percent of voters didn't want Obama as the next president (not to mention many people who didn't vote), and lots of them won't be celebrating on Jan. 20. One person recently said to me: "Let's hope he doesn't screw it up too bad during his four years so we can get a Republican back in office." This person, and many like him, still bitter about the election and the country about to be ruled by Democrats, are not going to want to celebrate with some inauguration-day trail mix and a can of Pepsi.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



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