It's only the first day of November, but Dunkin' has unveiled its 2019 holiday menu lineup and a line of decorative cups.
It's not the first time Dunkin' has rolled out a line of holiday cups. Still, this year, the brand has found its niche, said Joseph Szala, principal at Vigor Branding, an agency that specializes in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
These cups are "not just ticking the box of a holiday theme but doing it in a way that is perfectly on-brand with the look and feel."
Szala compared Dunkin's holiday cups to their rival, Starbucks.
"If you took off the Starbucks logo [from its holiday cups], you may not know it's Starbucks, but these pieces are inherently Dunkin'; and that is a brilliant move."
In the past, Dunkin's holiday cups have been more in line with Starbucks and included generic imagery and the word "joy." But the 2019 version plays with the brand's informal spelling and apostrophe usage. The cups were designed by creative agency Jones Knowles Ritchie and are emblazoned with the words celebration', sleighin', wrappin' and dashin'. The cups are Dunkin's signature pink color and are festive but avoided any religious overtones. (See Starbucks cup controversies.)
Dunkin’s branding has come a long way, Szala said.
"When they first started introducing coffee, there was an inferiority complex," he said. He described one of Dunkin's earlier logos that included a coffee cup like this: "How do we let people know we have coffee? Let's just slam this coffee cup in a logo."
Dunkin's 2019 holiday cups are a far-cry from that clunky logo, said Szala.
"They've cracked the code," he said.
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Update Nov. 4, 2019: The article has been updated to include the name of Dunkin's creative agency.