CANTON Mass. Dunkin' Donuts has hired popular talk-show host and Food Network star Rachael Ray to appear in advertising and work with the chain's culinary team in developing so-called "better for you" menu items.
By choosing Ray, who also is well known for her "30-Minute Meals" cookbooks and classes, Dunkin' Donuts is banking on her celebrity status to help sales. But the results of similar star turns have yielded spotty results for restaurant chains. Applebee's International Inc. hired Tyler Florence last year to create new entrees for the chain, and Burger King used Rick Bayless in TV spots in 2003 to promote low-fat chicken baguette sandwiches. Neither of the celebrity chefs delivered the sales results the chains were looking for.
Ray also participated in the 2003 BK campaign for the chain's chicken sandwich.
In the deal announced this morning, she will appear in Dunkin's broadcast and print ads, in-store material and online marketing programs. She also will make personal appearances for the chain, which has more than 7,200 units worldwide. The campaign is expected to run through 2010.
Ray will appear in her first TV spot for Dunkin' in April.
The all-franchised Dunkin' chain is a holding of Dunkin' Brands here, which is also the parent of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain.