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Dunkin’ Donuts swirls up donut sales with spooktacular social media challenge

Dunkin’ Donuts is aiming to drive holiday sales and promote its Halloween-themed Boston Scream Donut and Halloween Pumpkin Donut with a cup-decorating challenge on Twitter and Instagram.

The Boston Scream Donut, an annual fan-favorite, is a version of the popular Boston Kreme Donut, with a special orange frosting design while the Halloween Pumpkin Donut resembles a jack-o-lantern. The brand is also hoping to raise spirits with the social challenge, which offers a $100 Dunkin Donuts mGift prize for the five winners.

“It’s a really fun contest that gives us another chance to interact with and celebrate our creative and fun fans,” said Lindsay Harrington, public relations manager at Dunkin’ Brands Inc., Boston, MA. “The inspiration came from how we can incorporate the fun costume aspect of Halloween with our brand while continuing to engage with fans on social media.

“We like to say that our pages are fan-centric, which means that we focus more on engagement and that our fans actually own our social pages.”

Creative contest
Consumers are encouraged to dress their Dunkin’ Donuts cups in a festive Halloween costume, and then upload the photos to Instagram and Twitter using the #dresseDD hashtag. Cups from last year’s contest were dressed in creative costumes such as Hello Kitty, Darth Vader from Star Wars, a pineapple, Doctor Who’s TARDIS and a pirate.

Five winners will be selected on Oct. 31, and will be asked to direct message their emails to the Dunkin’ Donuts account. The challenge is open until Oct. 29.

Winners will be chosen for their Halloween spirit and creativity, and will receive a $100 mGift eligible for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and donuts.

“Each year, our fans on social media get very excited about this contest and fans enter some of the most unique and creative designs we could ever imagine,” Ms. Harrington said.

Halloween-themed goods
Dunkin’ Donuts is hoping to drive in-store traffic with extensive Halloween-themed baked goods. The Halloween Pumpkin Donut, which is filled with vanilla-tinged buttercreme, and the Boston Scream Donut are available through the end of October.

The brand is also having its bite-sized Munchkins join the Halloween fun by packing them in a limited-edition box that features images of Munchkins dressed in festive Halloween costumes. The donut holes, which can be purchased in quantities of 25 or 50, are marketed as being perfect for Halloween parties, haunted houses or other festive gatherings.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ mobile application, Dunkin’ App, will also be offering mobile cards in a variety of seasonal cartoon images, including zombies carrying Dunkin’ coffee, jack-o-lanterns lit by coffee, and a hoard of vampires advising people to “stay calm and drink coffee.”

The app’s mGift option offers mobile gift cards that can be sent via Facebook Connect, email and text.

With the brand projected to roll out mobile ordering tests in the fourth quarter, and an expected app update anticipated to arrive in early 2015, fans will be able to get their coffee or donut fix in an even more convenient matter.

“We will continue to look for new and exciting ways to grow Dunkin’ Donuts’ social media presence, including through special contests around times when we know guests are looking for small ways that they can brighten their days by celebrating seasonal occasions,” Ms. Harrington said. “These efforts are, of course, complemented by the seasonal menu items that we offer at our restaurants.

“We focus on providing our fans and followers of Dunkin’ Donuts on social media with a great experience, thanking them for their loyalty and celebrating the many ways they run on Dunkin’.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York