Thoughts x

The more things change, the worse they get.

Tradition is important. Tradition keeps you grounded. And sometimes, when a tradition changes, you find yourself wondering whether you’re really better off.

This week, America — a country that runs on Dunkin’ — mourned the loss of a great tradition. Starting on Jan. 1, 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts, beloved coffee and pastry chain, will be officially referred to only as … Dunkin’. It doesn’t matter if that’s what you’ve been calling it your whole life, now you’ll be legally obligated to drop the Donuts.

Dunkin’ Donuts will not actually be dropping the donuts from their menu. They’re just going through a branding overhaul. The pink and orange color scheme will stay the same, but there will be several other changes made including doughnuts displayed in glass cases, digital ordering systems and tap systems for cold drinks.

This self-described “multi-faceted blueprint for growth” follows in the footsteps of Joann and WW (previously Jo-Ann Fabrics and Weight Watchers), who changed their names to a much more vague alternative in order to advertise the fact that they aren’t restricted to just one product. We never really thought that Dunkin’ only sold donuts, though … Anyone who’s anyone orders the hash browns and a caramel mocha.

“Dunkin’ Donuts has been on a first-name basis with its fans long before the introduction of its iconic tagline, “America Runs on Dunkin’,” with customers around the world naturally and affectionately referring to the brand as “Dunkin’,” Dunkin’ Donuts said on their website.

“In recognition of this relationship, and as one of many steps to transform itself into the premier beverage-led, on-the-go brand, the company today unveiled its new branding at its Global Franchisee Convention that officially recognizes its name as simply “Dunkin’.” The change will officially take place in January 2019.”

“By simplifying and modernizing our name, while still paying homage to our heritage, we have an opportunity to create an incredible new energy for Dunkin’, both in and outside our stores,” said chief marketing officer Tony Weisman. “We are bringing the iconic name Dunkin’ to the forefront in a bold way that brings to life how we refill optimism with each cup and bring fun, joy and delight to our customers each and every day.”

Naturally, when things get around to changing, people get upset. Change is never ever good.

Twitter use @RevSavage9 articulated this with a mournful tweet.

“1st @IHOP gives up on pancakes, now @dunkindonuts is giving up on donuts?What’s next, is @PopeyesChicken giving up on chicken?Is @olivegarden getting rid of its garden?Is @BurgerKing giving up on kings? Smh, just when you think you know people. #betrayed #whoareyou #Idontknowyou”

Where were the people in this decision-making process? Were the people consulted at all?

“I’m from New England & I don’t think they should be able to do this without putting it on the ballot.”

Grammatically, it just makes no sense.

“Dunkin’ takes no object, all things are now always already dunked.”

I’m glad @alexisthenedd found a little bit of levity in this trying time. We didn’t all get that lucky.

“Please, Mr. Donuts is my father. Call me Dunkin’.”

The good news is everybody called it “Dunkin’” anyway and the menu is staying exactly the same. It just goes to show you, even the smallest change in tradition creates ripples.

Writer Profile

Cameron Andersen

New York University
Cultural Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality

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