Thursday, January 11, 2007

Coffee Break

I have a confession for my readers. My unforetold love for coffee and Dunkin’ Donuts specifically is one bit of trivia my family know about. It's practically the staple of my day, probably like many Americans, but surely not to the same extent. Ever since I had my license senior year of high school, having changed a bit over the years, my Medium Black, 2 (sometimes 3) Sugars and seldomly a Boston Kreme on the side is my daily companion. As a matter of fact, I probably love the brand so much, I ended up working part-time for them (believe you me, location varies, and not always a pleasant job).

So I was having a coffee craving fused with nostalgia and some late-night leisure searching which saw ends on the wonderous YouTube, looking for old commercials and the like. Ended up coming across a slew of old Dunkin’ Donuts advertisments from before and after the name was synonymous with the lovable Michael “Fred The Baker“ Vale, Dunkin’ Donuts “Time To Make The Donuts” mascot from 1982 throughout 1997.

Unless you’ve been living in a country (or outside the Northeast of the U.S.) not swamped by franchisee Dunkin’ brands, you might not have remembered good ol’ Michael Vale, who passed away on Christmas Eve 2005. Forget smoothies. Forget bagels. Forget flavors. Watching these open a window back into times from when (before I was born) the company focused on serving coffee and donuts!

Even for a 'tough customer', like this Italian gangster, only the taste of this coffee will do!

Needless to say, this advertisement (year unknown) is my favorite. Whenever an Italian gangster walks into a Dunkin’ Donuts, give him fresh “cauw-fee“! And I just love it how Fred jubilantly “peeks from behind the stream!” when pouring from the carafe as the poster puts it.

Do-nut try this at home folks! Freshly brewed coffee is about 200 degrees and if you're not a seasoned carafe pouring pro like Fred here, you're gonna get hurt!

While the company might’ve changed drastically in menu diversity since the 1980’s when hot coffee trumped any notion of having it on ice, the comfort and simplicity of these older spots is refreshing in contrast to the hip "America Runs On Dunkin" crap they spout today. Before the distinct ground flavors Hazelnut, French Vanilla, and Dunkin’ Decaf hit the market in '95 and left in favor of flavor shots shortly after the new century. Before they extended their menu base towards people who don’t even drink coffee! Well, the serving of miscellaneous stuff to lure unlikely java drinkers is probably a natural evolution in the marketplace in order to survive in a demanding market is only realistic but their "Original Blend" hot coffee still reigns supreme. And many customers can’t tell the difference ground flavors only sold in bags today versus syrup shots.

Last week, I turned to my girlfriend, only a few years off, and asked if she remembered Fred The Baker and his memorable tagline. She gave a blank stare. Her mother, however, knew. Who knows, maybe I just watched too much television as a kid. Being the mid-80's child I am and black coffee drinker I am today, I'm often accused of being old-fashioned. I think I'll take one while I'm at it...