Dunkin Donuts Follows Starbucks With Loyalty Program

Starbucks currently claims that in the US and Canada, 1/3 of their sales come from customers participating in the loyalty program. Dunkin Donuts recently announced that they’ll be rolling out a loyalty program “Perks” for their fans, though it’s slightly different and based not only on the number of drink purchases but the amount of money spent.

In terms of marketing, I think it’s a smart move and I’m curious to see how Dunkin Donuts will market and promote their new loyalty program and if it will increase their sales. Dunkin Donut fans are already dedicated consumers, so will this help improve loyalty? Or bring on new loyal customers?



Food Truck Dispenses Smells To Mimic the Experience of Eating

It’s pretty apparent that food trucks are all the rage in several cities across the US–where that can be mobile and give individuals access to foods they may not be able to obtain otherwise (i.e. areas there aren’t many restaurants–like 12th ave and 26th street). But in its height, innovation in the space continues—most recently with a concept that doesn’t actually require eating. A new project called the GhostFood Truck will do just this with an eating experience that will trick the mind. The GhostFoodTruck essentially mimics what actual food would taste like with a 3D-printed headset—attached to one’s face—allowing the user to smell various types of food.

The purpose of the headset is to trick your brain into thinking that it is legitimately eating food by get the chance to much on something (that is a vegan substitute) as well as get a sense for how it smells.

Food Truck Dispenses Smells To Mimic the Experience of Eating

Why I am Curious:
I think this is such a unique and forward thinking project that touches upon several problematic areas—obesity, climate change (threatening extinction of different foods), increasing population will increase food scarcity etc. In knowing that 80% of ‘taste’ actually comes from smell, I think this is a concept that could work to solve several issues but also heighten different experiences. For instance what if you were shopping for food online and saw something you wanted to try but didn’t want to pay for it if you didn’t like but were able to smell it to validate. Or what if you were doing a travel campaign and users could for instance smell the ocean and the beach increasing their desire to travel there. I am interested to see when this will launch and like may things if it will be insanely expensive.

Food Meets Fashion

Clothing retailer Uniqlo has launched an iOS app that blends fashion and food by showcasing 24 recipes from six up-and-coming American chefs.

Each recipe in the Uniqlo Recipe app features a palette of bright colors and textures, which are matched by the chef’s Uniqlo outfits. For example, Chef Brian Leth wears a brown cardigan to introduce his Dark Chocolate Sandwich recipe. Users can click to instantly buy each of the featured clothing items the chefs are wearing. The app also includes a kitchen timer featuring cooking sounds.

Why I’m Curious

It’s amusing to see a fashion retailer pair its offerings with food in this way. The two don’t inherently go together, yet the brand has found a way to connect them through shared attributes like color and texture. The end result is an application that provides functional utility in addition to entertainment. Given the disparate nature of the two elements however, I wonder how many people will actually download the app.

Watch Your Pizza Be Made with #DominosLive

Domino’s is providing a new level of transparency to their customers with a new “pizza-theater” store in Salt Lake City. Five cameras installed at the store capture every angle of the pizza-making process. Customers can then tune into this live, uncut glimpse of pizza action for 12 hours every day at

To celebrate the launch, Domino’s is supporting the new pizza stream with Twitter trivia and gift card giveaways. CEO J. Patrick Doyle told brandchannel “We’re proud of what we do in our stores, and the ingredients in our pizzas,” he said. “We assume everything we do will be known by our customers anyway, so we’re better up offering it on our own.”

Why I’m Curious

Domino’s Live is sort of a step toward pizza transparency. I’m sure employees in the Salt Lake City store are on their absolute best behavior on camera.

What the pizza stream seems to be doing more is cementing Domino’s digital prowess among competitors. Apparently, online orders now account for 35% of their business, and showcasing their pizza-making online may not only earn the trust of their customers – it may inspire hunger…and orders from people like this: “So bored right now! Sitting at my desk watching #DominosLive right now on the PC. #RealRealityTV



Instagram for Charity with #FoodShareFilter

Food sharing is huge on Instagram. It’s become customary for lots of people to snap a pic of their plate before taking a bite. The behavior serves little purpose besides making your followers jealous of the delicious food you’re about to eat. But what if your photo of sandwich could help a good cause?

#FoodShareFilter was created by DDB Spain raise money to El Salvadoran charity. The cost of the app ($0.99 download from the App Store and $1.16 on Google Play) goes directly to to an agricultural program in El Salvador run by Manos Unidas. Then each time you take a photo with the app, it posts to Instagram with the caption, “This picture helps millions of people not to suffer hunger” to build awareness around the campaign. (more at Mashable)

Why I’m Curious

#FoodShareFilter does a really nice job of integrated a charity effort with social. We’ve seen plenty of other campaigns that attribute a the number of tweets of likes to a donation, but there’s fairly low involvement from the user, and actually attributing those actions to donations gets a little murky. With #FoodShareFilter it’s nice to know that your payment for the app goes directly to cause. Plus the app seamlessly hooks up with Instagram and makes building awareness for the cause easy. I’d love to see a more widespread version of this campaign – especially in a city like New York.

Food Brand Helps Fans Cook Via Instagram

Instagram users love to take pictures of their food. Especially when it’s a delicious dish they ordered at nice restaurant. So CT Foods decided to take advantage of this user behavior and is offering to teach Instagrammers how to cook the foods they’re sharing.

All you have to do is take a picture of the food you’re enjoying, tag @askctfoods, and share it on Instagram. From there, a representative will respond with a list of the ingredients and instructions on how to make it. (more at PSFK)

Why I’m Curious

So far there’s only been about 18 photos shared with @askctfoods, but the level of detail they’re providing (though I can’t read the Swedish) is great. The campaign is a nice way for CT to position themselves as experts in Asian food in Sweden and really offer something valuable to the brand. Though it could prove to be quite difficult to launch a similar campaign on a larger scale, I love the idea of being able to ask a question with a picture and receive a detailed answer from someone who knows (the length of text Instagram allows really helps this). I’m curious to see how this dialogue could possibly continue past the exchange of the recipe – maybe a top Instagram chef competition?

Kellogg Lets You Pay for Food with Social Currency

The Tweet Shop is a retail outlet from Special K that opened this past week in London. Rather than paying with money, consumers pay with a tweet.

From Fast Company,

The new shop was built to promote Special K Cracker Crisps; another first for the brand, a savory snack. Londoners near Soho can visit the shop from 9a.m.-5p.m. until Friday, September 28, pick out a form tweet from a menu of options, and walk out quenched. (Sample form tweet: “Special K has gone savory. 3 flavors to try–salt and balsamic vinegar, sweet chili, sour cream and chives #tweetshop #spons”)

Why I’m Curious

It’s nothing new for brands to reward fans, but Kellogg’s was able to put a new twist with creating a brick and mortar location. A majority of rewards by brands are reactive and for existing fans of a brand, but Kellogg’s gives consumers the opportunity for something free in exchange for only a tweet (no follow, no like, no email required!).  Also, Kellogg’s gave consumers power, with the ability to choose the prepopulated tweet as well as the flavor of crackers.

I’m curious to see how anyone with a voice on social, not just influencers and celebrities, will be rewarded. Hopefully this will be recreated in New York soon!

Grey Poupon Screens Facebook Friends Before Accepting Them

From PSFK:

Grey Poupon’s new tagline, ‘Spread good taste,’ is the guiding qualification on the Facebook application, which uses an algorithm to interpret your percentage of good taste. Applicants are reviewed based upon the following categories: “proper use of grammar, art taste, restaurant check-ins, books read and movie selections, to name a few.”

Why I’m curious:

The hook of the app is undeniable: who doesn’t want to know if they’re “good enough” to join a club? The fact that GP incorporates your social graph makes the whole experience super entertaining, and the app is sharable as well.

But what’s really great is that what could’ve been just a supremely entertaining one-time interaction with the brand actually presents multiple opportunities to engage the consumer for a longer period of time. Once you’re “in the club,” you’re privy to several “rewards.” This week it’s an eco tote bag (with GP’s branding, of course). But there’s prizes every week through mid-November, giving the consumer a reason for return visits. Moreover, when you want to claim one of these prizes, you have to give Kraft your contact info — an added bonus if one of the brand’s secondary goals is to beef up with mailing lists. There’s also an opt-in to KRAFT’s recipe newsletter, further hooking the consumer into a long-term relationship.

The Most Interesting Food Truck in the World

As part of its Most Interesting Academy, Dos Equis is adding a fleet of seven unique food trucks to bring authentic and adventurous experiences to their consumers. Menus will focus on various regions/cultures with particular attention to the unusual (think silkworms, jellyfish and chicken feet). Representatives will explain to guests the history and culture of the food and the individualized menu with a corresponding cultural ritual that truly brings the experience to life.

Why I’m Curious: There’s enough food trucks out there (with even P&G is in the game) that this shouldn’t be a novelty. However, Dos Equis is going beyond food or even beer here and truly giving consumers an experience that lives up to the brand.

Taco Bell Airlifts Taco Truck into Alaska After Hoax

  From PSFK:

The small town of Bethel, Alaska received a special delivery July 1stconsisting of 10,000 Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos. Back in June, local residents staged a prank leading people to believe that Taco Bell would be opening a restaurant. When the chain restaurant found out about the prank, they decided to bring Bethel residents what they’ve been craving by airlifting a taco truck into the town.

Why I’m Curious:

The idea of a fast-food brand giving people a taste of what they don’t have isn’t new (TB’s stunt is sort of similar to Burger King’s “Whopper Virgins” from 2008). However, what’s interesting is that this was a response to a small-town prank-turned-carefully calibrated initiative, all borne out of something few had heard of — making it an excellent example of social listening. The big-name brand then planned the stunt, tweeted about it extensively all week with #OperationAlaska, had an end-reel which they re-promoted. For something unexpected, the earned and owned media on this initiative was huge.

See What Twitter Tastes Like

Ever found yourself wondering – what Twitter would taste like?

Me either. But three designers from the Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design have. So they created Tasty Tweets, a smoothie-making machine that creates flavors based on the types of foods being tweeted about.

Because of the real-time nature of Twitter, no two smoothies will be exactly the same. At 9:02AM blueberries might be mentioned 3:1 over the other fruits and vegetables, but at 9:54AM carrots might be more popular. Each time you press the button for your smoothie you’ll get a different mix.” (more at All Twitter)

Why I’m Curious

Data visualizations can be interesting, but Tasty Tweets results in more than something pretty to look at – a smoothie. This concept could be used for places like smoothie shops to create a unique flavor. But since beverage are already a common topic of conversation on Twitter, a similar technology could have really interesting implications for other food and beverage products.

Where do you feel like eating?

I know what you’re thinking. There are already too many apps and sites helping users decide where to eat out. But the truth is, they all use the same central criteria: location or food type. This ignores a critical component of the dining out experience…ambience. Hoppit is the first site to provide a dining-out search engine which filters its results based on the atmosphere of venues.

Based in Manhattan and currently available in 25 cities in the US, each restaurant in the Hoppit database is tagged with one of ten “vibes” or types of atmosphere. Users can manage their search results based on these categories, as well as the type of people they will be dining with – whether friends, family, business associate or date — the food they would like to eat, and the noise volume they would like to experience. Search results are complemented by food and drink deals through sites such as Groupon and Gilt City, which are shown beside the restaurant options.

Why I’m Curious: I’m interested in the various ways users and brands are trying to inject emotion to the social web – from adding an “I Cried” button on YouTube to searching cities’ hot spots based on your mood. I think when a category seems overcrowded — restaurant search, hotel search, travel search — there is always room to go back to the core of how people really make decisions and provide them with a filter that is a bit more human.

Whole Foods hosts a Twitter wine tasting Nov. 17

— Jocelyn

From PSFK:

Whole Foods Market is encouraging people to get together with family and friends for a tasting party with a difference. Share their featured holiday wines, along with some recommended cheeses, and tweet along while you’re sampling them.

There is a TweetChat room set up for the event on November 17th, where you can follow what Whole Foods Market national wine buyers Geof Ryan and Doug Bell have to say. You can also share your comments about the aromas, tastes and cheese pairings using the hashtag #WFMWine on Twitter. By following @WFMWineGuys, you can read what other wine enthusiasts think about the selection. Here are the top holiday wines chosen by Whole Foods Market:

Why I’m curious:
Twitter chats are nothing new. Twitter chats for a grocery chain? New. And timely, too, in a not-too-far-out extension of the “let’s all get together for the holidays” spirit. Even better: a Twitter chat about WF’s wines drives not only online buzz, but also revenue. Experts + passion points = talk and purchase, even online. The only thing missing in the purchase cycle is an e-commerce site to directly buy recommended wines from WF…

Heinz Sends Personalized Get Well Soup To Your Friends On Facebook


From PSFK:

As the temperature drops in the northern hemisphere, you might start noticing more of your friends becoming sick. Instead of sending them a Get Well Soon card, you can now send them a can of Heinz soup with a personalized label. The promotion is only available for Heinz Soup UK’s Facebook fans.

Each personalized soup come in two flavors, either Heinz Cream of Chicken or Heniz Cream of Tomato. For £1.99, Facebook fans can send a Get Well soup to their friends featuring the friend’s name on the label.

Why I’m curious:
This could easily have been a purely digital endeavor (you listening, Coca-Cola Australia?), but instead it is a  timely Facebook campaign (flu season!) under a like-gate (Facebook fans!) that generates real revenue (!!). What’s nice is that it crosses the social-retail border seamlessly (or at least it’s supposed to) without going into social currency. Paypal is the only monetary pay option, and turnaround is fast (3-4 days). No word on how successful it is, but definitely a cute online idea with a lot of possible real-life return.

The Rise of Food Photo Sharing


Online sharing of food photography is on the rise. Flickr hosts burgeoning groups like I Ate This (414,000+ photos) and Foodtography (92,000+ photos) – evidence of the fact that from 2008 to 2010, the number of pictures tagged “food” on Flickr increased tenfold to 6 million. Specialized foodie social networks like Fiddme has popped up on the Internet, where users solely take photos of what they eat and share them with their friends. And Instagram, the popular iPhone photoblogging app that garnered 1 million users only two months after launch launched its API in February 2011, with Foodspotting, a well-trafficked site pairing submitted food photos with Google maps, as one of the first sites with implementations up and running.

Even the big social players, Facebook and Twitter, are in the midst of big photo-sharing pushes. On June 1, Twitter announced plans to launch an official photo-hosting service so users could upload a photo and attach it to a tweet right on the site without needing to go to a third party (e.g. Twitpic). Not to be outdone, rumors surrounding leaked screenshots of Facebook’s upcoming photo app have been swirling on the Internet over the past few weeks.

Yes, it seems that an increasing number of people are choosing to digitally break bread with their friends. But understanding why people are taking and sharing food photos is critical to strategizing how to leverage it. To wit, one study distilled hundreds of uploaded photos into several key trends.

Read the rest here: