Dunkin Donuts is Watching You

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 by: Joseph Mann

Recently Brandweek reported a February 2006 licensing agreement between Dunkin Donuts and in-car GPS manufacturer TomTom allowing customers to download Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins logos onto their in-car GPS systems so the chains show up on the driving map when a store is in the vicinity. 1

This is a convenience for the driver to be sure, but an even greater boon for Dunkin Donuts’ marketing execs: the act of downloading leaves an electronic trail of breadcrumbs (or is it donut bits?) to observe how many people on the system have accessed the brand signposts. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t some sort of agreement that lets advertisers like Dunkin Donuts access GPS data to see whether someone actually drove to one of the sponsored stores, maybe even how long they were at that location. And its probably worth some expense for marketers to use this channel to gain further insight into the lucrative demographic that typically buys the $US 699.00 systems: 45% earned $75,000+ yearly and 34% earned between $100,000 and $150,000 each year.2 The smart advertisers would then use behavioral triggers to send additional targeted offers to these subscribers.

TomTom would like to ink similar licensing agreements with other brands and I’ll bet other GPS manufacturers have started looking at supplementary revenue streams in this area as well. And so it seems we’re yet another step closer to the kind of intrusive advertising I posted about over a year ago and seen to the extreme in the 2002 movie Minority Report.

On the other hand, such advertising may not be so “intrusive” if it targets my needs with relevant offers at the right time. The challenge is that most advertisers aren’t so adept at delivering on that promise yet. And with all the beeping and flashing logos soon to populate these GPS devices it won’t be long before municipalities start legislating when and how you can use your distracting GPS device in a car, much like the situation in many U.S. states where hand held mobile phone use while driving is banned.

Oh yeah…TomTom also provides GPS solutions for PDAs and mobile phones, so I gather marketers will soon be able to target customers as they’re walking around town. So your PDA/phone suddenly chimes to life with a new message: ‘Why not stroll into the corner Starbucks for a cup before your 11 am meeting, Mr. Anderton?’

1 Hein, Kenneth. “Marketers Map Out Their GPS Ad Plans.” Brandweek. April 24, 2006. pg 4.
2 NPD 3-month Survey
Joseph Mann “Behavioral Targeting, Morphing Taxis and the World of Minority Report.” Marketing & Graphic Design ROI Blog. March 20, 2005.

Original Post: http://marketingroi.blogspot.com/2006/05/dunkin-donuts-is-watching-you.html