Most people won’t even notice, but Dunkin’ has dropped the word Donuts from its name. The change is probably long overdue. The average millennial has no clue how the name originated or what made “Dunkin’ Donuts” so descriptive of their offering. The name is alliterative and fun to say, for sure, but only old-timers know how cleverly the name describes the favorite way to enjoy the snack. The practice of dunking doughnuts in steaming hot coffee or hot cocoa became popular around 1934 after movie idol Clark Gable showed Claudette Colbert how to do it right in the hit film “It Happened One Night.”
In 1950 when Bill Rosenberg opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Quincy, Massachusetts, the name was an accurate description of how to enjoy the snack. Since then the number of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises worldwide has shot up to more than 11,500, and the menu has expanded to include croissants, muffins, bagels, frozen drinks, sandwiches and wraps, hash browns, and 50+ kinds of donuts. The old name was limiting and misleading and needed to be retired.
The new Dunkin’ logo, designed by Jones Knowles and Richie and the new ad agency BBDO New York and Arc Worldwide, ditches “Donuts” but retains the familiar flaming pink and orange colors and puffy (like a deep-fried donut) font. Gone, too, is the clumily drawn cup of coffee with the squiggly steam, but still shown is the chubby apostrophe rendered in “missing donut” pink. In a test of just how you can abbreviate the name and still be recognizable, the coffee cups dropped all the vowels from the word “Dunkin’.”It works. The public still recognizes the brand.