Doughnuts Don’t Sell Themselves!

The neonFrog Approach to Launching Krispy Kreme in Columbus, Mississippi

Some gigs cause you to gain weight because you are stressed; however, stressed spelled backward is desserts, which was why this event was not always good for our waistline. neonFROG was hired to launch the Krispy Kreme franchise in Columbus, Mississippi. Leveraging creativity, strategic partnerships, and community engagement, neonFROG created a successful launch campaign that captured the interest of residents and contributed to the rapid growth experienced after opening. From starting social media accounts from scratch to coordinating memorable events and unique promotions, neonFROG’s approach exemplifies the power of out-of-the-box thinking.

neonFROG was placed under a non-disclosure agreement when they first began working with Krispy Kreme. Mainly because they were relocating to the soon-to-be former Dunkin’ Donuts space, which had yet to let their staff know they were closing. Once the doughnut was out of the box, a series of events, sponsorships, and advertising began. neonFROG set out to create a buzz, build brand awareness, and educate new Krispy Kreme customers about exactly what the Hot Light means. Through strategic marketing initiatives and memorable events, neonFROG aimed to leave a lasting impression and drive sustained growth for the brand.

Marketing Strategies

neonFROG implemented a range of creative marketing strategies to promote Krispy Kreme’s arrival in Columbus:

  • Social Media Mastery: To start social media accounts from scratch, neonFROG developed engaging content and executed targeted campaigns to build a following and generate excitement. The Facebook account has now grown from zero to almost 7,000 followers. neonFROG effectively connected with the local community online to generate excitement through delicious visuals, interactive posts, and strategic partnerships.
  • Strategic Partnerships: neonFROG partnered with the local TV station (WCBI) to sponsor the weather for a dozen days before the grand opening. This partnership increased brand visibility and positioned Krispy Kreme as a new active member of the Columbus community. Unfortunately, even with the meteorologist wearing the famous Krispy Kreme hat on TV during the broadcast, rain plagued the overnight before the opening – requiring large tents to cover the 100 campers excited to get free doughnuts for a year.
  • Memorable Promotions: neonFROG managed the first 100 guests doing random count-offs, verifying that the bracelet wearer was still in attendance to receive their free doughnuts for a year. This created quite a frenzy of excitement and long lines outside the restaurant. To accommodate these dedicated fans, neonFROG provided entertainment and last-minute tents to cover the 100 people sleeping outside the restaurant the night before in the rain.
  • Traditional Marketing: A mix of both digital and traditional marketing was utilized. This Included multiple billboards throughout the community posted on strategic traveled areas to increase awareness, a countdown billboard on the digital billboard, “kicking off” the opening with a commercial including a fun football-shaped specialty doughnut, running print ads in the local newspaper, joining the local Chamber of Commerce, sponsoring a radio show and a live remote the opening day.

Event Planning

neonFROG orchestrated a series of memorable events to coincide with the grand opening of Krispy Kreme:

  • VIP Kick-Off Night: Before the official opening, neonFROG hosted an invite-only VIP preview night, continuing the football theme for local influencers, media representatives, and community leaders. This exclusive event allowed vital stakeholders to experience the Krispy Kreme brand firsthand and generate positive word-of-mouth.
  • Community Engagement: neonFROG coordinated delivery around Columbus of manufactured doughnuts as the staff was trained to run the restaurant to local businesses. Krispy Kreme Ambassadors were also “hired” to volunteer to make the deliveries, creating a memorable and interactive experience (as well as lots of phone calls to neonFROG asking for their business to be chosen next), which further solidified Krispy Kreme’s presence in the community. The ambassadors were an exceptional group paid in doughnuts, which motivated them to help neonFROG. Many have been loyal customers and friends, even calling the owner and alerting him to happenings at the location he may not have been aware of.
  • Countdown to the Hot Light: With the help of the digital billboard above the property, all campers counted down until the final minute, when the hot light was officially turned on and open for business. The campers then filed through the inside of the building or the drive-thru, taking their free doughnuts for a year coupon. This event was covered live by the local TV station’s morning show, with an on-scene reporter broadcasting live several times during the festivities.
  • Only truly open once you cut the ribbon: With the help of the Chamber of Commerce, a ribbon cutting was held as the sun came out and the tents came down later that morning. Not any regular plain ribbon would do. A ribbon designed with 12 doughnuts attached and 12 pairs of scissors were used to open the restaurant to the public officially. The scissor holders were all community elected officials and VIP guests. Each one was also given free doughnuts for a year, so many officials who were often unable to make ribbon cuttings were all there. Each was given “sideline passes” as the football theme continued to be utilized throughout the opening.

neonFROG’s innovative marketing approach was pivotal in the successful launch of Krispy Kreme in Columbus, Mississippi. Through strategic partnerships, creative promotions, and memorable events, neonFROG captured residents’ excitement and established Krispy Kreme as a beloved new community member. They also messed up the traffic flow around the building for almost a week. Police officers had to manage and redirect noncustomers out of the right-hand lane and around the nearly a-mile-long line to enter the restaurant, eventually wrapping the line around the back of the complex where they are located to relieve some traffic issues. neonFROG continues to work with all 4 locations in Mississippi, providing social media, media placement and negotiations, image management, and community involvement events. The continued investment in creative marketing initiatives is crucial to sustaining growth, deepening community ties, and solidifying Krispy Kreme’s position as a market leader throughout Mississippi.