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FutureNow Article
Thursday, May. 15, 2008

Yes, Googlers, Dunkin Donuts Has Free Iced Coffee

By Robert Gorell
May 15th, 2008

image of dunkin donuts iced coffeeMore than any other brand, Dunkin’ Donuts has popularized iced coffee in the United States. So when a friend reminded me of their “free iced coffee” promotion happening today (Thursday, May 15, 2008), I was a bit surprised that I hadn’t seen or heard any ads for it. No radio commercials. No TV spots. Not even a subway ad or billboard.

Were they doing this purely by word-of-mouth, as a “thank you” to loyal customers who would then tell their friends about it?

I decided to go to to see if they were at least promoting it on the homepage.

dunkin donuts free iced coffee

Yes! I knew I could count on them to follow through on the homepage. This may seem obvious to many of you, but not following through on the homepage is the curse of many cross-channel campaigns (GoDaddy is a good example).

Alright, so they’ve got the homepage covered. Now let’s see how they’re doing on search.

about dunkin donuts free iced coffee

What? No iced coffee!? “Stay tuned for our new Free Iced Coffee date”? Ouch. Let this be a reminder to us all that, the next time someone tells you to “Google yourself,” it might not be a bad idea. They could have easily updated this page with new details.

Oh, well… This campaign is still a winner.

Ten years ago, if you ordered an iced coffee at a Denny’s restaurant in suburban Detroit or a Waffle House in Nashville — and I have — the waitress would look at you like you were crazy. “Um, we’ve got iced tea,” they would insist, forcing me to explain the complex artistry that goes into creating creating iced coffee (i.e., take coffee, pour into glass filled with ice).

Sure, iced coffee has been a staple of the New York City diet for as long as anyone living can remember. And, yes, Starbucks did get even the most unlikely customers hooked on “grande” iced lattes. But Dunkins never tried to convert working class folks into latte-sippers. Coffee and donuts, that’s their game; so iced coffee was never much of a stretch.

What else might they have done to sweeten up the campaign? If the Dunkin Donuts free iced coffee promo is it a hit in your area, leave a comment to let us know if you plan on stopping by to get a cup.

. .

Time to make the donuts? FutureNow can help you caffeinate your campaign by planning it from the customer’s perspective.

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Comments (27)

  1. Thanks for the reminder! Now, where is the closest Dunkin Donuts? Ah, yes, thanks for iPhone’s Map feature, I’ve narrowed one down into my sights!! :-)

  2. :)

    Dunkin Donuts also has a store finder — smartly linked from the homepage — to help the iPhone-deficient folk (like me).

  3. Thanks for the notice! I had no idea about the promotion. I will have to get over to Dunkin Donuts.

    I really like your tip regarding the importance of Promotion/Homepage/Search result synergy. When I hear about something (like absolutely free iced coffee) and I want to verify it, I will usually always ‘Ask Google’ by doing a quick search.

    No matching results? Someone may have just lost a customer.

  4. The title seems to suggest it is Google’s fault DD chose to present this information in an unspiderable format..

  5. Elena,

    That wasn’t my intent. I meant it more in the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” vein.

    Sorry if you feel misled. I’ll change it to “Yes, Googlers, Dunkin Donuts Has Free Iced Coffee Today”.

  6. What I also loved is that Dunkin Donuts took advantage of Facebook to announce the event. As of today, nearly 21,000 people joined that particular event page – way to use social media!

  7. We were informed with the massive Group on Facebook! Thousands upon thousands of people joined up (more than 21K as mentioned above). We heard no news of it any other way… interesting – they advertised for FREE on Facebook and used that and word of mouth – SMART idea!

  8. Guess Starbucks employees can go home early today…..

  9. I actually knew about the promotion, but in a completely different context. DD has been pushing a promo in the Boston area for free coffee the day after every game the (dare I say it?) World Champions win, (that would be the Red Sox by the way).

    So I was confused with the free coffee today offer when the Red Sox actually lost last night. (I freely admit I am not a huge baseball fan, so I had to look up whether or not they did actually win or lose).

    Did I get a cup? Nope, the timing (10 am to 10pm) was not convenient for me. My suggestion to DD- if you want to give something away for free to get more people into a store- offer free Wi-Fi, they will come, they will stay, they will order more coffee. I would.

  10. I had seen promotional signage at my local Dunkin’ Donuts leading up to Free Iced Coffee Day, but what I found interesting was when I stopped at McDonald’s the same day, they gave me a free chicken biscuit.

  11. Hm. There WERE print alerts in the local giveaway papers in glorious New Jersey (Hoboken, to be exact). But I wasn’t sure if it was national or not…which is what someone asked me in the NYC Dunkin Donuts where I got my coffee–because she wanted to text her husband, who was traveling.

  12. So I went to get my free iced coffee yesterday after work and my local Dunkin’ Donuts (well, there are a lot of them, but I wasn’t going to go out of my way) had — get this — run out of both coffee AND ice.

    I thought they were putting me on, but I looked behind the counter and there was nothing, not even hot coffee, brewing. Apparently, it was such a success, they weren’t prepared for all the people who wanted free iced coffee.

    I’m willing to bet that some of those people actually bought something while they were there.

  13. This promotion was advertized on our local sports radio station in Rhode Island.

  14. Hmm… just saw an ad for it in the New York Times as well. Is that showing up for anyone else (scroll down and look at the banners on the right)?

    Better latte than never?

  15. Sure, i will taste it definitely. Thanks for suggestion!


  16. Yep- I drove to DD for my usual cup o’ joe, ordered it, drove up to the pay window and was asked by the cashier if I wanted a free Iced Coffee…something I would have liked to know before I ordered hot coffee. But hey, cold drinks have ice and everyone knows DD coffee is really hot! So I sipped the hot one 1st and finished off my road trip with the cold one, made even more perfect because I didn’t have to pay for it. And by the way, when I expressed surprise, she told me to check their front window for the sign advertising the special, but alas…no sign. Delicious anyway!

  17. Wow! That’s a great way to re-advertise an already popular product. I’m strictly a Starbucks fanatic, but I’ll settled for a free ice coffee any day. I think I’ll try this strategy with my own websites. Thanks!

  18. Cool!!!
    Don’t usually go to Dunkin, but will be sure to try.

  19. On Thursday, 5/22 @ 8:00A we visited the St Lucie West location anticipating our iced coffee with a bagel/cream cheese. Imagine our disappointment when the Manager/Owner informed us that the promotion hours were from 10A to 5P. I showed him the FULL PAGE AD of Wednesday, 5/21 in the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspaper & pointed out that there were no time limits. Needless to say we were not the only one disapponted. My husband & I did have coffee & bagel but the 6 others behind us left muttering under their breaths. This did nothing to ensure more business rather it was a “TURNOFF” to return.
    Rose Marie & Joel Garhartt

  20. There is always a good time for enjoying a good taste and taste the most exquisite taste in whole world.


  21. Hello All,
    I am not sure if this how the promotion is being run ever were else, but at the Dunkin Donuts near me (I live in Howllywood, fl) the promotion began on Thursday May 15th and every following thursday until today, June 12th. Like Mr. Gorrell I wasn’t aware the promotion was going on, as I didn’t see/hear any advetisement for it. I heard about it from a friend who works for DD corporate. Last thursday I walked in, asked for a free cup and that was it! I am going back there tonight. I have to do laundry after work; I’ll need a pick me up!

  22. Iced Coffee is huge here in Australia as well.

    I guess it’s got something to do with our hot summers

  23. I have never heard of ice coffee until a year ago. I have had my coffee freeze when left in the car, does this count. I have been too busy with real estate or under a rock.

  24. I am always on the look out for Dunkins’ as I them, there are just not enough of their stores where I live :-(

  25. Only ever had dunkin donuts once and they were good. Iced coffee has got bigger here in the UK, but we don’t have dunkin. Maybe I need to arrange another holiday.


  26. It’s an old post, but I recently visited the US and went to a Dunkins and ordered ice coffee!
    It’s great.

  27. importance of freeze when left Promotion/Homepage/Search were no time limits. Needless to say we were not the only one disapponted result in the car, does this synergy

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