Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., a company once able to rely on word of mouth to sell its treats, is turning to television and radio ads for help.
Its television ads with the tag line "Share the Love" are running in the Triad of North Carolina; Springfield, Mo.; and Savannah, Ga. The ads, which began Jan. 16, are expected to end soon. They're tied to a Valentine's Day promotion from the Winston-Salem-based company, including new heart-shaped doughnuts.
The move into advertising isn't surprising, said Steve Hockett, president of FranChoice Inc., a Minnesota company that matches potential franchisees with companies.
"I think that they're falling more into the mainstream of marketing their brand," Hockett said Wednesday. "It's the normal evolution of their business."
Stan Parker, Krispy Kreme's senior vice president of marketing, declined to comment on how much the ads cost.
The company also is running radio ads in four other markets and placing freestanding inserts in Sunday newspapers in 50 markets.
"This is really consumer marketing to drive sales," said Mike Horn, a partner at Horn & Stronach, a marketing, advertising and public relations company based in Winston-Salem.
At one time, product placements in movies and television created both buzz and sales for Krispy Kreme. But analysts the doughnuts' widespread availability in grocery and convenience stores caused Krispy Kreme to lose some of its aura.
There are financial problems as well. In addition to the drop in sales, the company said last week it had received a three-month extension for listing and trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Krispy Kreme has not filed required quarterly financial results since November 2004.
In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors are investigating Krispy Kreme. Franchisees and workers who allege the loss of retirement savings also have filed several lawsuits.
Marketing Drive Worldwide, based in Wilton, Conn., created the ads. The 30-second TV spot opens with doughnuts going down a conveyor belt, then being coated with the sugary glaze. The song "Sea of Love" plays in the background.
"Krispy Kreme. Share the love," the voiceover says at the end after promoting Krispy Kreme valentines and the heart-shaped doughnuts.