First, it was the IHOP franchise that attempted to change its name, much to the chagrin of its customers. Then it was Weight Watchers, who wants to go by WW from now on, thank you very much.
And despite the “IHOB” publicity fail and Oprah’s not-so-convincing endorsement, that is not stopping Dunkin’ Donuts from attempting a brand makeover by getting rid of the “donuts” from its name completely.
“Dunkin’ Donuts has been on a first-name basis with its fans long before the introduction of its iconic tagline, ‘America Runs on Dunkin’,’ with customers around the world naturally and affectionately referring to the brand as “Dunkin’,” the company announced in a statement. “In recognition of this relationship, and as one of many steps to transform itself into the premier beverage-led, on-the-go brand, the company today unveiled its new branding at its Global Franchisee Convention that officially recognizes its name as simply ‘Dunkin’.’ The change will officially take place in January 2019.”
Along with having a more “vague” brand identity, Dunkin also hopes to revamp its store by displaying their donuts in glass displays (not metal baskets behind the cashier), opening digital kiosks, and serving cold brews on tap.
The name change is not fazing some customers, especially those in New England — the first Dunkin’ opened in Massachusetts in 1950 — who have been calling the chain “Dunkie’s” or “Dunkin”http://undefined/” for years.
“So basically the deal is ‘Dunkin’ Donuts’ is just becoming ‘Dunkin’’? Okay. I mean, what kind of nerd calls it ‘Dunkin’ Donuts’ anyway? This does not bother me at all. What bothers me is that their pistachio coffee flavor is SEASONAL. You can’t just DECIDE that pistachio is a summer flavor,” one local told Vox.
Another agreed, adding, “Do I think the name change is dumb? Yes. Grammatically, without doughnuts, what are we dunking? But I have been calling Dunkin’ Donuts ‘Dunkin’’ for all of my adult life. This truly changes nothing for me. Dunkin’ loyalty runs through my veins. I’ve been there twice today. I stand by them.”
However, DD loyalists from other parts of the country are having mini existential crises over the updated moniker. “People are actually calling the store demanding to know details why Dunkin’ Donuts is changing the name,” one employee tweeted to show just how betrayed customers are feeling.
Another tweet read, “Why is Dunkin’ Donuts changing it’s name to ‘Dunkin.’ The whole image is the DONUT…. we take the or f–king DONUTS AND OUR F–KING COFFEE AND WE CALL IT Dunkin’ Donuts!”
Even Bette Midler took a light-hearted jab at the shop.
It just seems that DD is following in their coffee sibling, Starbucks’, footsteps. In 2011, the Seattle franchise removed “coffee” from its logo. As CEO Howard Schultz explained at the time, “It’s possible we’ll have other products with our name on it and no coffee in it.”
Another major factor in the name change: 60 percent of Dunkin’s sales were attributed to coffee, making it a beverage company, something you might not realize given its existing name.
So, unfortunately for DD ride-or-dies, starting January 2019, America is going to have to “get on a first name basis” with Dunkin’.