Baskin-Robbins marketing initiatives have historically been lean, perhaps reflecting the brand’s struggle to target an audience increasingly dominated by millennials and Gen Z. A new Stranger Things experiential marketing activation, however, shows the Dunkin’ Brand taking steps to refresh its image.
This summer, Baskin-Robbins is transforming its Burbank, California store into the Stranger Things ice cream shop, Scoops Ahoy, from the Netflix show’s third season. Open from July 2 to July 14, Baskin-Robbins’ version of Scoops Ahoy will look and feel exactly as the actors experience it in the sci-fi show setting—1985 in Hawkins, Indiana. Replete with nautical decor and Stranger Things-inspired staff uniforms, the shop will give fans an immersive experience described by Baskin-Robbins as “ripped from the script.”
Baskin-Robbins customers across the country can also get a taste of the Stranger Things initiative as the brand introduces a Scoops Ahoy-inspired flavor of the month for July—USS Butterscotch. The flavor will also be available in a nautical-themed USS Butterscotch Sundae straight from the show, topped with waffle sails.
Earlier this year, Baskin-Robbins used a 30-second video spot, set to the show’s theme song, to tease its Stranger Things-themed treats, including “Eleven’s Heaven,” “Upside Down Sundae” and “Demogorgon Sundae.”
In 2018, Dunkin’ chief executive David Hoffman hinted at the redesign of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins restaurants which came to fruition this year. US Baskin-Robbins franchisees remodeled eight restaurants during the first quarter of 2019.
A current effort to upgrade store interiors, coupled with its “Got Me Like” campaign last year, targeted toward a younger audience, reflects Baskin-Robbins’ evolution into a more modern brand. As part of the campaign, Baskin-Robbins created a 15-second spot which included brightly colored memes and videos. The company has also expanded its reach via a partnership with DoorDash in which first-time customers receive “Try Me Free” offers to encourage trial.
The Dunkin’ Brands first-quarter earnings show that US Baskin-Robbins comparable store sales declined about three percent in the first quarter, citing unfavorable weather impact as the cause. Also in the first quarter, 18 Baskin-Robbins international locations and three US locations closed. The closures were offset by the opening of 34 new Dunkin’ US locations.