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Dunkin’ Donuts targets the lovestruck with Facebook Live, geofilters

Dunkin’ Donuts is stirring up sales ahead of Valentine’s Day by promoting its love-themed digital gift cards and featuring its heart-shaped donuts in a live stream session on Facebook, paving the way for food and beverage brands to capitalize on major holidays.

The marketer is attempting to connect with digitally savvy consumers via a slew of initiatives, including its first-ever Facebook Live session and a rollout of Valentine’s Day-themed Snapchat filters. Dunkin’ Donuts’ strong push for mobile suggests that the brand is ready to dethrone Starbucks as consumers’ coffee chain of choice, especially when it comes to purchasing holiday treats.

“Our guests are always on-the-go and constantly connected to their mobile devices, so in order to make our Valentine’s Day programming as impactful as possible, we knew we had to integrate mobile elements into our plans,” said Justin Drake, senior manager of public relations at Dunkin’ Brands, Canton, MA.

“Mobile has proven to be an extremely powerful promotional tool for us, and will continue to be an important part of our overall promotional efforts in the future.”

The gift of mobile
Dunkin’ Donuts is encouraging customers to treat their loved ones with a mobile gift card this Valentine’s Day by launching four new varieties of love-centered designs. The brand hopes that the mobile angle will appeal to plenty of consumers, since the recipients will not need to worry about misplacing or losing a physical gift card.

One of the new mobilized cards features heart-shaped donuts masquerading as roses, while another reads “You are the Turbo Shot to My Heart.” Individuals can purchase these via Dunkin’ Donuts’ mobile application or through

Those who buy the gift cards through the app will be able to send the virtual funds to the recipient via email, text or Facebook Connect.

Mobile gift cards remain an ideal option for consumers searching for last-minute presents, a notion that could throw more than a few points in favor toward Dunkin’ Donuts’ Valentine’s Day weekend sales.

Additionally, the brand is ramping up engagement among couples by hosting the Dunkin’ Hearts Love Contest, which asks newly-engaged pairs to share how their soon-to-be-spouse proposed.

Anyone planning a wedding between now and Dec. 31, 2016 is invited to visit on their smartphones or desktops. Dunkin’ Donuts is accepting proposal stories from Feb. 11 through Feb. 18, and will select one couple to receive the grand prize of $10,000 as an early wedding gift.

Entries will be judged on originality, adherence to theme and appeal of story.

The bakery chain’s dedication to helping guests show their love in creative ways could easily prompt consumers to pop into a nearby location for a heart-shaped donut or two.

Sweetening up social
Dunkin’ Donuts is also revving up its promotional tactics on social media, likely in a bid to target on-the-go individuals that could potentially be nearby one of its locations at any time. The brand held its first-ever Facebook Live session on the social network on Feb. 11, giving fans a sneak peek at how its culinary team prepares a cake made of heart-shaped donuts.

The live stream also gave viewers more information regarding the Dunkin’ Hearts Love Contest and offered a behind-the-scenes look at one of the chain’s test kitchens.

Facebook Live is steadily gaining traction with a slew of marketers, especially as brands realize its massive potential to connect with fans in a way that feels one-on-one, and showcase products in an organic fashion.

Dunkin’ Donuts is also driving in-store traffic with the introduction of new Snapchat filters, starring its heart-shaped donuts in addition to sayings such as “Donuts About You.” Social media users in or around any Dunkin’ Donuts store will be able to access the geofilters and send Snaps to friends or loved ones.

If individuals are not in a bricks-and-mortar location, the filter is well-poised to entice them to visit a Dunkin’ Donuts and purchase a real-life version of the featured pastries.

“I recall one of the first North American QSR mobile promotions fifteen years ago was around Valentine’s Day and pizza,” said Gary Schwartz, president and CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. “The call-to-action was SMS your ‘cheesiest pickup line.’

“With Snapchat and Facebook Live, there is richer media integration, but the goals remain the same: viral sharing. Valentine’s Day is a couples’ celebration and a tremendous opportunity for the brand that can facilitate, or even accelerate, communication to a partner and then to its extended community as an ‘Aaw–shucks’ share.”

This is not the Dunkin’ Donuts’ first foray into mobile-heavy marketing pushes.

Last fall, the brand continued to ramp up its bet on Snapchat from both a content-creation and advertising standpoint by offering a one-day geofilter to boost engagement alongside its National Coffee Day promotion (see story).

It also rolled out mobile ordering and delivery services for Portland and Dallas residents in November, highlighting its dedication to staying competitive with Starbucks by targeting on-the-go consumers (see story).

“The goals of our Facebook Live session and Snapchat filters are to further increase engagement with our guests and shine the spotlight on our popular heart-shaped donuts,” Dunkin’ Brands’ Mr. Drake said. “The programming we have planned for these two channels are additional ways we’re helping our guests celebrate the fun of Valentine’s Day.”