"America runs on Dunkin'". At least it has since April of 2006, which is when ad agency Hill Holliday launched the nationwide campaign. It might not seem like it's worth blogging about, I admit. Of course, they blog about it anyway. They're quite serious about it. It looks like everything in a Dunkins that gets near a printing press is going to come out covered in the new slogan-logo (slogo?). Hell, even Slate.com thought the campaign deserved a writeup. Of course, with the exception of a little "OMG Americans are teh fat" crack at the end, said writeup is an unalloyed and unabashed encomium to the brilliance of Hill Holliday. I suspect the writer is hoping for some industry connections once he runs out of people willing to pay him to watch commercials.
Me? I'm not so convinced. First off, it's a pathetic rebus. They start strong with "America" . Can't complain about that. Not sure why America is floating in a sea of eye-raping orange, but I'm sure dozens of people with staggering salaries spent many a meeting and memo debating that very question, and surely expensive decisions can't be wrong. "Runs" is much weaker, however. "Waving torso in a tilted martini glass" might mean a lot to Salvador Dali, but it doesn't immediately say "runs" to me. On the other hand, it beats the hell out of "On" . Goddamned prepositions that denote relative location are the easiest words in the English language to represent in a rebus. If you want to say "house on fire", you put your house image directly above your fire image. This isn't rocket science. And why is it so tiny? If you're overestimating the fine folks of Hill Holliday, you might infer some rebus-related meaning from the peculiar size. "Small on"? "Less on"-- "lesson"? "On shrunk"? Hmmm. We'll move on to the last -- oh, for christ's sake. If we weren't already certain that they'd completely given up on the rebus concept, the fact that they settled for their mini-logo as a stand-in for their name should settle it. The company sells donuts and coffee. The company is named after the act of immersing one product into the other. Would it have been so damn difficult to depict this act in some sort of visual medium? For that matter, if you see double-d's and think "donuts!", you're a less perverted person than I am. Or more perverted, depending on exactly why double-d's make you think about donuts.
So. "Map surrealism lesson boobs". Thank god they provide an answer key immediately below their devilish pictorial puzzle. Either Hill Holliday is admitting that their rebus sucks, or the images were only provided as a courtesy to their many illiterate customers. I'll leave more in-depth consideration of their motivation to future analysts and historians.
Now that we've considered the presentation, let's move on to the substance of their claim. Does America, in fact, run on Dunkin'? I'd say we run on fossil fuels for the most part, though DD's coffee does bear more than a passing resemblance to crude oil. Seems like Nestlé, Kraft, and McDonalds (among others) might be justified in raising a dubious eyebrow at Dunkin's claim to be the nation's preeminent people-feeder, for that matter. Still, a bit of hyperbole is acceptable in marketing. And it is only a bit of hyperbole. With 4.3 billion dollars in 2006 US sales and boasting approximately 5,300 Dunkin' Donuts locations in 34 states, DD is no mom-n-pop operation. In fact, they--
Hang on. 34 states? I seem to recall the flag having more stars than that. I'm not going to raise a fuss about anyone omitting Guam and Puerto Rico. I can even overlook skipping the sort-of-states like Alaska and Hawaii. But they've barely broken 2/3. I'll forgive their execrable slogo, but this level of blatant inaccuracy cannot be allowed to stand.
...There. All better. And yes, I did go through state by state to find the correct 16 secessionists from the United Dunkin' of Donuts. You're welcome.