If the data on marketing trends is right, nothing these days says “Hungr-Buster” to millennial consumers quite like specialty coffee. So, to escape an all-but-certain future limited to wowing 4-year-olds and retirees with upside-down Blizzards, Dairy Queen has decided to enter “the battle for coffee supremacy.” Starting this week, it’s yet another place where you can caffeinate. There’s flavored iced coffee, plus something called the DQ Ultimate Frappé. The coffee gets a shot of vanilla (okay), mocha (sure), or salted caramel (wait, huh?), while the Frappuccino knockoffs are available in generic caramel chip, an option known as midnight mocha, or Oreo.
DQ executives seem to envision these drinks as filling an alleged demand for no-nonsense coffee, the Oreo frappé concoction being sort of case in point: It’s a $2 cold coffee (during “happy hour”) with no single-origin pretensions that uses the chain’s soft-serve and involves a reliably brand-name cookie. To market the line to suburban 30-something moms, moreover, DQ brought in Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson. According to the press release, she’s ideal for the promotion’s “message” that people who fit these drinks into their busy lives are, like Johnson, the “epitome of a multitasker.”
The big question on analysts’ minds is whether this portends a jump into the breakfast game, an area where Dairy Queen is also bringing up the industry’s rear. The very important answer to this question, though, may be that it just did. Owner Warren Buffett has been saying for years that more people should adopt his notoriously bad diet of starting the day off with ice cream and Oreos.