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Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Going from Doughnut Maker to Cultural Mover and Shaker

4 min read
OFFICES: St. Louis, Raleigh, Charlotte and New York
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Supports the COVID19 Vaccine

I think anything anyone can do to help show support for those getting the vaccine is a good thing right now and so we’re just trying to do what little we can.

Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Chief Marketing Officer
our solution

Be bold. Be brave. Be first.

We helped Krispy Kreme step out with a message that risked backlash from anti-vaxxers and other critics who perceived doughnuts as contributors to underlying health conditions associated with COVID-19 patients. With courage and conviction, Krispy Kreme became the first national private-sector brand to outwardly support vaccinations, offering one free iconic Original Glazed Doughnut — anytime, any day, even EVERY day, at any shop, all year — to everyone who shows their COVID-19 vaccination card.

Krispy Kreme doesn’t buy TV, radio or out-of-home advertising. So, strategic timing and outreach was everything. After the first cycle of vaccination-hesitation news settled and several states announced a lower minimum age to get the shot, we engaged key media contacts to coordinate interviews for stories that would post concurrent to our news release and organic social. We also researched and pitched media not traditionally targeted (e.g., medical/health). And a virtual war room of earned and social experts monitored and managed dozens of inquiries.

Show Your Heart campaign doughnut giveaway

The “Show Your Heart” campaign overlay launched five months later with a weeklong heart-shaped doughnut giveaway (an additional free doughnut!) to keep the sweet support and momentum going.

the impact

Krispy Kreme went from culturally relevant to a culture force.

The campaign launched as we anticipated, but its momentum and impact exceeded all expectations. In the first 48 hours, Krispy Kreme trended No. 1 on Twitter and was the top Google search. In the first week, the news proliferated in all verticals. And in the months that followed, dozens of brands, organizations and local/state governments followed Krispy Kreme’s lead. By fall, Krispy Kreme had given away nearly 3 million doughnuts.
stories in the first six weeks
earned media impressions in the first six weeks


Reasons to get your COVID-19 shot: Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your friends. Get a free Krispy Kreme Doughnut.
Roy Cooper
Governor of North Carolina

Voted best vaccination incentive campaign.

PRWeek U.S. Poll


60% said brands have an “obligation” to encourage people to get vaccinated.
Harris Poll/AdWeek Consumer Survey