Dunkin’ Donuts has married two popular summer trends — selfies and the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” — for a multi-platform social media campaign.

The Canton, Mass.-based quick-service chain started its social media effort about two weeks before the Aug. 10 launch of Shark Week, and continues it through Aug. 16, when the cable television channel ends its lineup of shark-related programming.

Dunkin’ invited the public to “Take a Bite, Take a Pic” by taking a selfie photograph with a breakfast item and posting it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #DDSharkWeek.

Dunkin’ ranks No. 11 in the Nation’s Restaurant News Social 200, and it is among a growing number of restaurant brands that are using Instagram, the photo-sharing social network that is a division of Facebook.


An NRN survey using data from Sprinklr, a social analytics company, conducted from July 27 to Aug. 13, found Facebook still drew most of the #DDSharkWeek hashtag use, at 64.7 percent of mentions, while Instagram logged 12 percent and Twitter 23 percent.

Shark Week provided Dunkin’ Donuts with a planned summer event on which to piggyback social media. The platform includes a special Dunkin’-sponsored web page that features the photographs and allows fans to vote on their favorites. The most popular Instagram post to date is by a contestant named Gabriella, who garnered 5,815 likes on Dunkin’s Instagram by press time.


“Each year, the anticipation and enthusiasm for ‘Shark Week’ increases,” said John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation at parent Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., when the promotion launched in July. “We are excited to partner with Discovery Channel for ‘Shark Week 2014.’”

The partnership was first announced on Instagram and then Facebook, where Dunkin’ now has more than 12 million followers.

Those using the #DDSharkWeek hashtag and posting photos are eligible to win $100 Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards or other prizes. Some participants’ photos are also being featured in the “Shark After Dark” show with comedian Josh Wolf. Winning pictures may be featured on Dunkin’ Donuts’ billboard in Times Square. The promotion also features a special doughnut iced in red and white to resemble a life preserver.

The focus of the social campaign, Costello said in a statement, is to “developed a truly innovative, immersive experience and opportunities for deeper engagement for our guests and all ‘Shark Week’ fans.”

Jamie Scheu, vice president and director of experience design at Dunkin’s ad agency Hill Holliday, said, “For Dunkin' Donuts, it represents an opportunity to create sustained engagement with people in their living room, not just for 15 or 30 seconds at a time during commercial breaks, but for minutes or even hours throughout a live national television event.”

Dunkin' Donuts has nearly 11,000 units in 33 nations.

Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Penton.com
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless