How Dunkin’ Donuts Rocks Visual Storytelling

Dunkin’ Donuts knows donuts. Not just how to make them — but also how to sell them. The brand’s approach to visual storytelling is a case in point.

Dunkin’ Donuts relies on a number of visual storytelling platforms to elevate something as seemingly prosaic as a donut. For instance, Dunkin’ Donuts uses Pinterest to celebrate its product variety, including seasonal offerings. Its “Cooking w/Dunkin’” Pinterest board shows you some surprising ways to use Dunkin’ Donut products to create yummy treats ranging from chicken wings to jalapeño cheddar canapés. Dunkin’ Donuts also adapts its Pinterest board to seasonal themes, an example being the launch of the DD Love board to show you how sweet Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and donuts can sweeten your Valentine’s Day.

Dunkin’ Donuts also takes a playful approach to visual storytelling. The company has been known to “photobomb” its products, or photograph them in unexpected places, such as coffee cups juxtaposed against iconic landmarks like the Art Institute of Chicago, which adds local appeal. The “photobombing” approach is a terrific way to take advantage of offline environments — imagine a brand using a portable and visual icon to have guests at an event to photobomb locations in and near the venue.

Dunkin’ Donuts is an example of how visual storytelling can inject personality into your brand. Images inject whimsy and humor into the Dunkin’ Donuts brand akin to confetti sprinkles sprucing up a cake donut. Photos of the Dunkin’ Donuts Cuppy and Spinkles smiling mascots hanging out at a beach or giving each other a high five on Times Square makes a statement: we’re having fun.

The brand’s playfulness also comes to life on Vine. Dunkin’ Donuts has quickly gained considerable buzz for creating snackable, short-form content on Vine, such as using Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups to re-enact a play from an ESPN Monday Night Football game. Dunkin’ Donuts used a September 2013 replay from ESPN Monday Night Football (tagged #DunkinReplay) as one of the first-ever TV ads using a Vine and also promoted the clip on Twitter, thus creating cross-platform visual storytelling.

Dunkin’ Donuts has created engagement across a wide social network.  On Facebook alone, the brand has gained 11.7 million Facebook Likes — to say nothing of fan engagement, with 335,000 people talking about the brand on Facebook (as of 10 June 2014).

Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the brands I discuss in my recently published white paper, Engaging Your Audience with Visual Storytelling. This point of view provides a clear approach for how to employ visual storytelling in your events and online experiences. Engaging Your Audience with Visual Storytelling shares many other brand stories that I believe will inspire you. Please check out our point of view to learn how — and let us know about your experiences.

This post was originally published on the One Smooth Stone blog on June 10, 2014. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing


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