Dunkin’s Ice Spice Munchkins Drink Takes Aim at Gen Z’s Coffee Preferences
Ben Affleck and Dunkin’ have teamed up for a third ad. This time he’s promoting a new cold coffee drink with rapper Ice Spice. The chain will woo – and wow, Dunkin’ hopes – her legion of Generation Z followers with a new drink named Ice Spice Munchkins. Munchkins is the collective name for Ice Spice’s fans as well as the name for Dunkin’s signature doughnut holes.
The drink, which blends frozen Dunkin’ coffee with Munchkins pumpkin-cake donut holes, is topped with whipped cream and a dribble of caramel. The drink will be on menus for a limited time – but for sure, several months.
Ice Spice Serves as Pitchwoman
The drink aims to appeal to the key demographics of Ice Spice’s followers, according to Ad Age. Chief Marketing Officer Jill McVicar Nelson told Ad Age that younger Dunkin’ customers prefer iced and frozen coffees to hot drinks and love music. Dunkin’ also wanted to harness consumers’ fondness for autumn flavors, she said, emblematic of a trend that goes beyond Starbucks’ high-profile Pumpkin Spice Latte, with Caribou and Bad Ass Coffee, Jamba, Clean Juice, IHOP, Wendy’s and Cici’s Pizza, among others, joining the parade of pumpkin-spice items on fall menus.
The Ice Spice Munchkins Drink ad debuted Tuesday night during the MTV Video Music Awards; Ice Spice won for Best New Artist during the telecast. Affleck wrote and directed the commercial, which Ice Spice had dropped hints about on social media. NBC’s Today helped the cause by airing a clip of the ad during its Wednesday morning broadcast.
Affleck begins the ad by saying he was promoted to Dunkin’s brand ambassador and then shows the actor brainstorming with Ice Spice, who sporadically sips a Dunkin’ drink. He tells her that it’s difficult to name new drinks and seems challenged by the task of forging a link between Dunkin’ and Ice Spice. Ice Spice turns on the lightbulb for Affleck by saying her fans are called Munchkins.
Earlier, Affleck did a February 2023 Super Bowl ad co-starring his wife, Jennifer Lopez. The second commercial showed Affleck standing in line at Dunkin’ and being mistaken for his longtime friend and fellow actor Matt Damon.
More Dunkin’ Innovations
Since dropping “donuts” from its name and becoming just Dunkin’ in 2019, Business Insider notes that the chain has offered more premium and non-coffee drinks, often teaming with social media stars to broaden its appeal to younger consumers. That same year, for instance, it began its tilt toward becoming a lifestyle brand with holiday merchandise and a Homesick candle.
Dunkin’s 2020-2022 Innovations
The coffee-and-donut brand’s wide-ranging innovation practically exploded in 2020. It beefed up its drive-throughs to keep traffic flowing into restaurants during the Covid-19 pandemic. Its first foray beyond coffee beverages was the Matcha Latte born that February, Business Insider said. Refreshers iced tea drinks debuted in June 2020; customers could order oat milk at Dunkin’ starting in August 2020.
During the spring and summer of 2020, Dunkin’ expanded snacks to include croissant stuffers, snackin’ bacon and stuffed bagel minis. That September, TikTok sensation Charli D’Amelio promoted her cold-brew Charli drink, and Dunkin’ saw a 57% increase in downloads of its app on the day the campaign launched as compared to its previous 90-day average.
In 2021, Dunkin’ continued to add cold brew and premium drinks to menus, the Gen Z crowd pleasers. Its Coconut Refreshers, which featured coconut milk, debuted in April of that year. And like many restaurants, the chain also got on the avocado toast bandwagon.
Last year, Dunkin’ stayed busy with further partnerships and menu additions. March marked the dawn of its partnership with social media influencer Mikayla Nogueira, who promoted e.l.f. Cosmetics in the “Wake Up and Make Up” campaign.
Bakemag.com noted the menu additions of Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew, Salted Caramel Signature Latte, the Shamrock Macchiato, Roasted Tomato & Hummus Toast, Roasted Tomato & Avocado Toast and a chocolate croissant. August 2022 saw the premiere of a Nutty Pumpkin creation with a flavor somewhat akin to the Ice Spice Munchkins concoction; Nutty Pumpkin Coffee combined the flavors of pumpkin, cream and hazelnut in hot or iced coffee.
This Year and Beyond
Just before Valentine’s Day 2023, Dunkin’ rolled out its Brownie Batter Signature Latte, a drink exclusively offered to members of its rewards program. The decadent hot or cold drink mixed the flavor of brownie batter into espresso and was topped with whipped cream, mocha drizzle and sprinkles, according to Eatingwell.com. In April of this year, The Daily Meal joined other media in reporting on Dunkin’s introduction of the Raspberry Watermelon Dunkin’ Refresher – yep, another iced beverage.
The takeaway is that new eats and drinks and celebrity faces are all in a day’s work for the visionaries at Dunkin’. As marketing chief McVicar Nelson told CNBC, “When we look to the future, we are trying to build off of our core.”