Doughnut lovers find US chain's hipper new name hard to stomach

A renamed Dunkin' in Boston, Massachusetts. Despite dropping "Donuts" from its name, the American chain will still sell doughnuts.
A renamed Dunkin' in Boston, Massachusetts. Despite dropping "Donuts" from its name, the American chain will still sell doughnuts.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CHICAGO • Dunkin' Donuts is becoming just Dunkin'.

The coffee-and-doughnut chain, which will make the change official in January, is following in the footsteps of companies like Walmart (which recently removed its pesky hyphen), WW (which was previously Weight Watchers) and IHOb (which is technically still IHOP, but it temporarily rebranded earlier this year to call attention to its burgers).

The company announced the new name in a statement on Tuesday.

The move shows how companies are increasingly putting value on shorter, snappier monikers that are supposed to appeal to a younger generation.

Chief marketing officer Tony Weisman said the simpler name will "create an incredible new energy for Dunkin', both in and outside our stores".

The American chain will still sell doughnuts.

However, starting in January, it will feature a new logo on its packaging, store signage and advertising, while retaining its orange and pink colour scheme.

"We are now on a first-name basis with America," Mr Weisman said, explaining the change.

But doughnut lovers took to social media on Tuesday to decry the move by Dunkin' Donuts to drop its signature product from its name.

"Is nothing sacred anymore?" tweeted Ms Eileen McKnight after hearing of the news.

"They literally invented the word 'Donut' ", tweeted Mr Dave Iarocci.

"They should keep it forever," he added.

The shorter brand names might appeal to a younger generation that has brought texting abbreviations like "LOL" (laugh out loud) into the mainstream, but many long-time brand loyalists opposed the identity shifts.

"Just a tragic, heartbreaking sign of the times," wrote doughnut aficionado Billy Glidden, his tongue apparently planted firmly in cheek.

"Our civilisation is inexorably in decline."

The 68-year-old company, based in Canton, Massachusetts, started rolling out the new identity over the last few months.

It opened 30 Dunkin' locations around Boston.

That triggered a backlash even ahead of Tuesday's announcement.

The brand's launch in 1950 coincided with the popularisation of the alternative spelling of "doughnut" as "donut", according to Google Books data.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2018, with the headline 'Doughnut lovers find US chain's hipper new name hard to stomach'. Print Edition | Subscribe