Sugarcoating the Shot

When my childhood sweet tooth took its toll so many years ago, I just about lived in the dentist’s chair getting cavities filled. Anesthetics weren’t as effective as what we have today so those drill sessions were miserable. The only upside was the shelf of free toys my dentist teased beforehand, “dangling the carrot” to get me to sit still. Now, starting Monday, Krispy Kreme is taking the same approach to entice COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Free doughnuts” – who doesn’t like the sound of that?  Even if you’re more of a Dunkin’ fan, the allure of anyone’s free doughnuts is undeniable.  As long as you show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, you can get a free doughnut at Krispy Kreme every day for the remainder of 2021.  Heck, that’s enough incentive to permanently adjust the morning commute.  But not enough to get the vaccine.

I’m a huge fan of the Krispy Kreme “yeast doughnut”.  The original glazed version is light and airy and goes down so easy you could inhale a dozen in one sitting.  In fact, I’ve almost done just that.  My wife and I were driving to the airport with friends a few years ago, bound for Las Vegas.  We passed a Krispy Kreme store, checked our watches, and mad-dashed a U-turn so we could grab a few doughnuts for breakfast on the run.  “A few” amounted to two dozen and we had no problem finishing all of them on the rest of our drive.  That’s six doughnuts apiece and I didn’t even feel stuffed.

There’s the rub (or marketing genius) of the Krispy Kreme COVID-19 vaccination promotion.  There’s no way – I mean NO WAY you’re gonna walk into Krispy Kreme, get only a free doughnut, and walk out.  Nobody has that in their DNA.  Recall the Lay’s Potato Chip slogan: “Bet you can’t eat just one.”  The same applies to Krispy Kreme doughnuts in spades.  You don’t buy them by the “one” but rather by the dozen.

[Random thought: My mind just wandered to the midway at the county fair and those big games of ring toss.  Substitute doughnuts for the rings and syringes for the pegs.  Can you see it?  Yeah, probably not the best image for the Krispy Kreme promotion.]

If this story was about Voodoo Doughnuts or another baker whose creations are more akin to a large, filling dessert, maybe one free doughnut would be enough.  But at Krispy Kreme you’re going to get your free doughnut and promptly buy a dozen more.  It’s because you’re standing in the lobby and the slow-moving conveyor of hot, fresh doughnuts tempts you just beyond the glass.  You reach out for a touch or a taste but you can’t.  It’s how Krispy Kreme cajoles you into buying more of their product.

As for the vaccine enticement, Mary Poppins would certainly approve wouldn’t she?  Krispy Kreme should put her on their television commercials joyfully singing, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…”.  Mary’d fit nicely into Krispy Kreme’s advertised “Be Sweet” initiative, designed to sell a lot of doughnuts but also, “…to inspire joy and kindness”.  Let’s hope hundreds and thousands of free doughnuts do just that.

Speaking of free doughnuts, whoever created this campaign must know what they’re doing or suffer the most awful form of job termination.  Here in Colorado, our vaccination rate hovers around 15.3% for a state population of 5.7 million people.  That means on Monday, Colorado Krispy Kreme stores could potentially see 872,000 customers demanding their free doughnuts.  And the day after that.  And the day after that.  Oh and – heh – Colorado only has TWO Krispy Kreme retail outlets in the entire state.  Traffic jams of epic proportions.

Now here’s the irony behind this Krispy Kreme headline.  For those who decide not to get the COVID-19 vaccine (and that would be me; don’t judge), we can still get a free glazed doughnut and a medium coffee at their stores on Mondays from March 29th to May 24th.  That’s nine free doughnuts and coffee for someone who didn’t even get the shot.  Does that inspire their intended “joy and kindness”?  You bet it does.

I only wish the nearest Krispy Kreme weren’t forty miles away.  Lucky for me there’s a new one under construction not fifteen minutes from my house.  They’re planning to open their doors at the end of December.  You know, just as their free doughnut promotion comes to a close.

Some content sourced from the CNN.com article, “Krispy Kreme is making vaccinations extra sweet…” and KrispyKreme.com.

11 thoughts on “Sugarcoating the Shot

  1. KK hit our area hard about 15 or 20 years ago then retrenched almost as hard a few years later. I think I have to go to a gas station to get them now. Which is probably not a “participating location”.

    A donut a day keeps the Covid away? Worth a try. And even if you catch it, the daily donut will make you feel better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. KK’s retail stores make all the difference in the appeal of their product (hot and fresh off the conveyor and all). At a gas station, a Krispy Kreme might as well be inside a sleeve of those mini powdered sugar bombs you can get from Hostess.

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  2. A new KK just opened about a 20 minute drive from my house, but there is a good donut shop closer.
    and where I got my vaccine is nowhere near any donut shop.

    There’s some bad city planning going on in my town …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a local doughnut shop called “Horseshoe” and theirs are monsters. You’ll pay $20 for twelve, and I challenge you to eat more than one. Doughnuts the size of small tires. Even at those prices, they’re doing just fine. Only in America.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our province is at 6.5% who have had at least one dose – Canada is a ‘have not’ country in terms of having secured access to the vaccine. We’re in no hurry to get the shot. There are many people younger than us who have many comorbidities and desperately want the shot. We’re happy to let them go first… though if Time Horton’s was to offer free doughnut holes and an Iced Capp, I might have to reconsider that decision…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, Margy – I couldn’t tell you whether Krispy Kreme has good coffee (I’ve heard Tim Horton’s is decent and here in the States, Dunkin’ is developing a cult following on theirs). Decent free coffee would tempt me more than free doughnuts. Also, ‘comorbidities”? What a word! Had to look that one up 🙂

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      1. Comorbidities, efficacy, PPE, PPC, presumptive, etc – the word salad that my government tosses around. I think big, strange words keep people from asking too many questions…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This was so funny, enjoyed the Mary Poppins analogy. I think I have only had Krispy Kreme once, I remember they were light and fluffy. I also heard the had a lot of calories, I think that’s why I stayed clear of them. Like you said, hard to eat just one. It’s going to be DANGEROUS with one opening up by you…

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  5. KK has several flavors and varieties but their Original Glazed doughnut is the one putting them on the map. They’re so light/airy a boxed dozen feels like there’s nothing inside. If you walk into a KK store you’ve already left your concerns about calories on the doorstep. And absolutely, my willpower will be tested once I know a Krispy Kreme store is right down the street.

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  6. We’ve got a Krispy Kreme store a couple of miles from here and I was there many years ago when they first opened. I don’t remember if it was the lure of munching on a fresh, warm donut or watching the process of making those donuts, which was pretty interesting. I believe Dunkin’ rules around here, having been in the ‘hood as long as I’ve lived here (1966), but sadly I’ve not been there since they rebranded from Dunkin’ Donuts to just plain Dunkin’. I need a nutty donut fix. I thought it was a clever marketing campaign.

    Liked by 1 person

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