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Dunkin’ Donuts goes after Starbucks in battle of brews, baristas, t-shirts

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By Peter Genovese | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

In the business world, it’s generally accepted that you don’t go after the competition by name in advertising campaigns.

Dunkin’ Donuts apparently didn’t get the memo.

The country’s biggest retail coffee seller – they pour 30-plus cups every second – is selling a snarky, snazzy t-shirt with these fighting words:

Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks.

The t-shirts have been available for several months, but I spotted one for the first time in a Dunkin’ Donuts off I-95 in North Carolina over the weekend.

Dunkin’ Donuts may be big dog in the U.S., but Starbucks is much more a global presence.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which started in Quincy, Mass. in 1950, has 11,000 locations in 33 countries; nearly 700 are in New Jersey. Worldwide sales in 2013 totaled $7.4 billion.

Starbucks, which started in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971, has 20,519 stores in 65 countries. Sales in fiscal 2013 totaled $14.9 billion, a 12 percent increase over the previous year. Fastest-growing markets: China and the “Asia Pacific” region.

There are about 240 Starbucks locations in New Jersey. According to statemaster.com, New Jersey ranks 29th among states in Starbucks per capita.

Starbucks, in case you didn’t know, is named after the first mate in Herman Melville’sMoby Dick.

Back to that Dunkin’ Donuts t-shirt. An eBay seller lists the t-shirt as “rare,” but you can readily purchase it on the Dunkin’ Donuts web site for $14.95. It’s “dark chocolate” in color, and comes in M, L, XL and XXL sizes.

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