What do you do when a competing fast food chain gives coffee away free to attract new customers? If you're Dunkin’ Donuts, you equate trying that coffee to suffering a painful and violent death at the hands of a sociopath. Duh.
McDonald’s made October “free coffee month,” and the company has been hitting the morning FM radio waves hard. Almost every commercial break contains a spot hawking a free cup with any purchase. Fair enough, the company wants to build its breakfast business.
So this morning I heard the Dunkin’ Donuts response. The ad is a phone conversation where a man is calling to ask about a flyer for free flying lessons. A deadpan voice on the other end of the line tells the that “free flying lessons” entails bringing him to an abandoned airstrip, having him sign a waiver, and then strapping him to the hood of a car that will careen forward before abruptly stopping – sending him “flying” to his mangled death. Then, a voice stops the scene: “Just because something is free doesn’t mean it’s worth trying...We’ve been using same fresh-brewed coffee blend for 50 years…” Try McDonald’s coffee? Why don’t you just kill yourself? And you thought fast food competition was tough at lunchtime.
What are we supposed to feel after this ad? Fear? Paranoia? Grim amusement? Do these emotions keep us faithful to a coffee brand? What are you smoking, Dunkin’?