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Dunkin’ Donuts overflows competition with mobile gift and coupon blitz

Dunkin’ Donuts is dispersing mobile gift cards to winners of its latest social media sweepstakes and is offering a coupon to application users ahead of back-to-school season, proving it has the wherewithal to dethrone Starbucks as a food and beverage leader in mobile.

The fast feeder sought to ramp up sales of its new Tailgater Breakfast Sandwich by rolling out a social media sweepstakes encapsulating fans’ enjoyment of eating breakfast at any time of day. On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, fans were asked to share their reasoning via Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win one of 10 daily mobile gift cards or a grand prize of a year’s worth of breakfast sandwiches.

“By running contests like the #BreakfastWhenevs sweepstakes we’re not only speaking to our fans, but also offering them a chance to get something back for their support of the brand, often enabling them to try more Dunkin’ Donuts products,” said Scott Hudler, vice president of global consumer engagement at Dunkin’ Brands, Canton, MA.

“We can share a specific message or product with fans and allow them to experience it for themselves, which adds to the fun,” he said.

Mobile-first outlook
Dunkin’ Donuts is celebrating National Sandwich Month by encouraging consumers to show their support for one of its newest menu items by revealing their reasons for enjoying breakfast whenever they want. The “Breakfast Whenevs” sweepstakes continues the brand’s tried-and-true social media contest strategy, which offers relevant prizes to fans and stirs up buzz on mobile.

On Aug. 25 and 26, users were asked to take to Twitter or Instagram to share their reasons for loving breakfast at all hours by uploading them via the #BreakfastWhenevs and #Sweepstakes hashtags. Each daily sweepstakes lasted from 11 a.m. through eight p.m.

One grand prize winner will be gifted with one year’s supply of the marketer’s breakfast sandwiches, while another 10 winners for each day will receive $50 mGift cards.

“The Dunkin’ mobile app makes it easy to award these winners instantly, as we’re able to send them a virtual gift card directly to their email,” Mr. Hudler said. “Once their gift card is received, winners are able to use their card to enjoy Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast sandwiches and other favorite menu items throughout the rest of National Sandwich Month and beyond.”

The sweepstakes offers an additional way for fans to connect with the Dunkin’ brand, which realizes how imperative mobile is in driving sales. On-the-go consumers appreciate picking up their morning coffee and breakfast as quickly as possible, leaving open a wide opportunity to market mobile gift cards.

Customers who have downloaded the DD mobile application may save the gift card within their accounts. When they are paying for their order, they can tap the selected card on their smartphones and present the bar code to the cashier for scanning.

This removes the necessity of carrying around cash or credit cards, and quickens the payment process. Mobile gift cards may also be sent to friends or family via SMS, Facebook or email, and can be automatically reloaded with more funds.

This is not the first time Dunkin’ Donuts has tapped a promotional sweepstakes strategy.

Earlier this month, Dunkin’ Donuts put a new twist on a seasonal sweepstakes by driving consumers to discover personality traits correlating to their favorite flavor of iced tea via an interactive quiz and encouraged fans to share their results on social media for a chance to win a year’s supply of iced tea (see story).

The brand has also confirmed its move into mobile ordering and is introducing an integration with payment platform Visa Checkout later this year (see story).

Competing with Starbucks
Although fellow food and beverage marketer Starbucks is also at the forefront of mobile strategy, Dunkin’ Donuts’ dedication to fostering long-lasting relationships with fans via digital channels may give the brand a leg-up in the competitive sector.

Starbucks has excelled in some areas of mobile commerce, such as being one of the first beverage companies to hop on the mobile delivery bandwagon by testing services that enable consumers to receive their favorite drinks hand-delivered by a green apron-clad barista.

Also, Starbucks occasionally offers social media sweepstakes to coincide with the busy holiday season, but lacks the constant connectivity that Dunkin’ Donuts offers its loyal customers.

The consistency of Dunkin’ Donuts’ campaigns proves its commitment to mobile as a top revenue channel, and also rewards fans with frequent opportunities to earn valuable prizes.

Additionally, the brand is providing a back-to-school offer for caffeine-craving consumers. DD app users can receive a mobile coupon for a $1 discount on a K-Cup Pod box.

This offer is available through Sept. 15, and will be distributed to members of its DD Perks loyalty platform as well.

“For us, it’s important that we continue to provide our guests with new levels of speed and convenience so that people can run on Dunkin’ more quickly than ever before,” Mr. Hudler said. “We’re hoping that with the incentive of these mobile offers, more people will see how easy it is to use the Dunkin’ mobile app and with it, the DD Perks Loyalty program.

“We’ve reached 13 million downloads of the mobile app and three million loyalty members, and we’re excited to see those numbers continue to grow,” he said.

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