‘Absolutely Brilliant Marketing’: Dunkin’s Latest Marketing Stunt Praised as ‘Culturally Relevant’ by Gen Z

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Short King Spring is upon us and it looks like Dunkin’ is cashing in on the reason for the season.

For background, “short king” has become a term of endearment for men — usually under 5’9 — whose “his lack of height has nothing to do with his perception of his own self-worth,” according to Urban Dictionary.

In a play on the term, Dunkin’ announced on Tuesday that a small, iced regular coffee will be renamed “The Short King” on the Dunkin’ App through March 26 to celebrate the beginning of Spring. In Massachusetts, where Dunkin is headquartered, spring can also be a very short season.

Related: Dunkin’ Super Bowl Merch Sells Out, Drops Extended Ben Affleck Ad

“This honorary name will only be available for a limited time through March 26, so make sure to grab a small iced coffee for yourself… or the short king in your life,” the company said in a release.

The new ad campaign caused quite a stir on social media, especially on X where many found the concept “genius” and “hysterical.”

Dunkin’s Short King spring campaign on Instagram has me CACKLING. Now this is marketing ??????

— Wanja the Multifaceted Storyteller (@wanjanjama) March 21, 2024

Absolutely brilliant marketing by Dunkin. Culturally relevant, funny, and incentivizes people to go to the app to actually see it actually listed as the “Short King”

This is why Dunkin is winning even with mid coffee. https://t.co/hcjoqk8yQs

— Modsix (@ModsixGaming) March 19, 2024

it’s only the second day, but so far i laugh every time i open the dunkin app to order an iced coffee and they suggest that i order a short king. just excellent marketing work

— Courtney OConnell (@thegingerninja_) March 20, 2024

I became a dunkin girlie just in time to celebrate a true short king renaissance https://t.co/WsEmGAMGeW

— Jimmy Sprinkles ?LIVE (@_JimmySprinkles) March 19, 2024

Dunkin’ also promoted the temporary menu swap on its social channels, including Instagram, where the chain created a mini-animation that shows the small coffee being crowned by two larger-sized beverages, officially becoming the king.

The lead of the “Short King” campaign, Director of Brand Engagement at Dunkin’ Kemma Kefalas, touted the success of the concept on LinkedIn, noting that the idea was to take a term that was deeply rooted in Gen Z culture and bring it to the mainstream — and the company’s wider customer base.

“There’s never a dull moment working for a brand that empowers us to put culture at the forefront…where all the short kings can see,” she wrote.

This isn’t the first time this year that Dunkin’ has taken an out-of-the-box approach to its marketing techniques.

Related: Dunkin’ Brews Up Cross-Generational Buzz

During Super Bowl LVIII, the chain debuted a 60-second commercial — its second ever — with famed Dunkin’ fan, Oscar winner Ben Affleck alongside an A-list cast of “DunKings” that included fellow Boston-native Matt Damon, rappers Jack Harlow and Fat Joe, NFL legend and former New England Patriot Tom Brady, and Affleck’s wife, actor and singer Jennifer Lopez.

The YouTube video of the clip has since garnered 4.7 million views.

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