Ever heard of a marketing tactic going a little too well? This is what happened to the Krispy Kreme graduate dozen campaign on May 19. Krispy Kreme came up with a promotional campaign for the graduating class of 2020. They launched a special ‘graduate dozen’ set of 2 doughnuts especially for the graduating class of 2020. There were 12 flavorful doughnuts with one number of 2020 written on each of the 12 doughnuts. Thus, the doughnuts read 2020 thrice. To further add to this, this graduate dozen set of doughnuts was available for free all day on May 19. The graduate dozen doughnut set will be available till 24th May, but it was free only on May 19.
The problem with Krispy Kreme graduate dozen
Of course, not anyone could just walk up to a Krispy Kreme and get free doughnuts. You had to be from the graduating class of 2020. To prove this, you should be wearing a graduation gown and cap. Well, you could also show a graduation announcement, a tassel highlighting that you’re a graduating senior or a student ID. Having any of the aforementioned items with you made you eligible for free Krispy Kreme graduate dozen doughnuts.
This promotional campaign was supposed to run all day on May 19 but it had to end early. One of Krispy Kreme’s outlets at Long Beach attracted so much crowd that there was a huge traffic jam. The police had to step in at about 11:50 AM just hours after the campaign began. The traffic near the Krispy Kreme was jammed for blocks at the end. This was because of the cars that were lined up for Krispy Kreme’s drive-through window. Thus, the police closed the drive-through and allowed customers to place online orders and then go up to the outlet. Other Krispy Kreme outlets also reported a similar rush.
Did the stocks last?
Many Krispy Kreme outlets ran out of the limited-edition graduate dozen doughnuts. They started offering customers their original glazed doughnuts for free instead. Krispy Kreme too informed about this on their website. They thanked the class of 2020 for their phenomenal response. Krispy Kreme then told everyone that they were facing a rush of customers in their outlets. Even though they were committed to providing everyone with free graduate dozens, some shops had run out of stock. These shops would now provide Krispy Kreme’s original glazed doughnuts for free. They also said that they hoped their customers wouldn’t be disappointed by this and congratulated the new graduates.
Krispy Kreme got a really good response on their campaign but there were several operational deficiencies. They should have allowed some form of home delivery of the graduate dozen. Or they should have made it mandatory for customers to place online orders and then come and pick them up. They could have also asked their customers to pre-register for the free graduate dozen one day in advance. This would have allowed them to estimate the demand and be ready with the supply.
This campaign by Krispy Kreme was a lovely and thoughtful gesture for the class of 2020. With graduation ceremonies ruined due to COVID-19, they finally had something to look forward to.