Living in Massachusetts puts me smack dab in the middle of Dunkin Donuts central, where home to the corporate donut and coffee conglomerate can be found right here in Canton, MA. Today, Dunkin Donuts boasts over 8ooo franchises in 30 countries, with about 5800 locations in the USA. Not bad for a little donut shop that first opened in 1950 in Quincy, MA by a man named William Rosenberg.
The Dunkin Donuts I speak of today is not the modern day Dunkin Donuts that "America runs on", but the one of my childhood. Last night, I saw their new TV commercial, which hails quality family time spent enjoying luscious donuts together. It made me think of my late, beloved Grandfather. Being the last in a line of five, I was not yet of school age and the only one left at home every morning when my Grampa would come and visit us armed with a box of Dunkin Donuts. Come to think of it, I can't ever remember a time when Grampa didn't come through the door carrying the pink and white donut box. It was our morning ritual. Sticky, sugar covered Jelly donuts were my favorite as a kid, with a "honey dipped" or glazed donut running a close second. Grampa and I would sit at the kitchen table, he with his coffee and me with my milk, eating, talking and enjoying the moment together. Those were some of the happiest times of my life and I adored him.
Grampa was truly my best friend. He would watch me every morning while my mom would go run errands for an hour or so, and I harldy knew she was gone. After our donut, we would do fun things like wash pennies. Grampa would get a can of Comet, a bowl of water and an SOS pad. He then would take a bunch of pennies and change from his jingling pocket and it became our mission to get them as shiny and clean as possible. The pennies, almost always revealing the most dramatic change. Of course, Grampa let me keep all the change when we were done. Those days for me, came pretty close to perfection.
I thought about my children's grandparents and how on a Sunday morning visit they occasionally arrived carrying a pink and white box, much to my children's delight. I thought about the kids, after an early morning game or a school hour dentist appointment, requesting a stop at "Dunkies" which always resulted in a purchase of multiple chocolate frosted donuts which then produced multiple smiles. The TV ad had done exactly what it was intended to do. It evoked an emotional response to the national brand and it's signature product. Knowing what we know about nutrition and food additives today, it probably puts the donut on the "top ten worst food violators" list for sure. But somehow I think the reward of an occasional donut with the kids outweighs the risk.
Dunkin Donuts just may have got their money's worth with this latest ad campaign. When I go to visit my brother and his kids this weekend, you can bet that as I walk into his house, I'll be carrying a pink and white box.