How Ben Affleck became an accidental Dunkin' influencer

  • Ben Affleck's love for Dunkin' proved a constant through the unpredictable and stressful 2020. 
  • The actor appeared in countless paparazzi photos with his trusty Dunkin' iced coffee at his side, cementing the connection between him and the iconic coffee chain. 
  • Drayton Martin, Dunkin's vice president of brand stewardship, told Business Insider that the chain does not have any official partnership with Affleck, calling him a "true lover of the brand." 
  • Instead, Ben Affleck seems to have become an accidental Dunkin' influencer, lighting up the internet with his genuine love for the coffee chain. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In a year of uncertainty and stress, there has been one constant: Ben Affleck's love for Dunkin'. 

Affleck, who claims to drink Dunkin' every day, has had two constant partners during the pandemic: his girlfriend and fellow actor Ana de Armas, and a cup of Dunkin' iced coffee. As many celebrities stayed out of sight, Affleck appeared in countless paparazzi photos with his trusty Dunkin' at his side.

The final days of 2020 brought one last Affleck-Dunkin' sighting. Paparazzi caught Affleck, decked out in Boston gear, fumbling an order of iced coffees and Munchkins on the doorstep of his California home. The photos went viral, as photos of Affleck and Dunkin' are wont to do. 

 

"Ben Affleck is a pap favorite," Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, hosts of the celebrity podcast Who Weekly, told Business Insider in an email. According to the hosts, Affleck is known for just being himself, "a dude from Boston." 

"And aside from the Red Sox and clam chowder, Dunkin' Donuts is as Boston as it gets," Finger and Weber added. 

Affleck's appreciation for Dunkin' isn't new. But, over the last few years, his love for the chain has transcended from a quirky talk show talking point to a sort of cultural touchstone. 

We needed answers from Dunkin', both about Affleck and some of the chain's official marketing strategies. (Again, Dunkin' successfully launched a $34 Homesick candle that smelled like coffee.) So, earlier in December, Business Insider spoke with Drayton Martin, Dunkin's vice president of brand stewardship. 

Martin had a lot to say about Dunkin's partnerships and marketing strategies, as the chain has worked to puncture potential customers' perceptions of the brand. Dunkin' has partnered with a number of celebrities, including rapper Snoop Dogg and TikTok star Charli D'Amelio. But, Martin said, it does not have any official partnership with Affleck.  

"He is a true lover of the brand and it is all his spontaneous expression," Martin said.

"We love Ben Affleck. … He's obviously from the Boston area and a terrific brand ambassador, but that's his own doing," she added. 

Martin's answer lines up with Weber and Finger's conclusion that "Ben just genuinely has gotta have his Dunkies."

"If it's all some sort of covert paid sponsorship, congrats to Ben," they said. "But if there's anything to know about doing ads, it's that it's basically work and work tends to ruin things you love! It appears that Ben truly still loves his java." 

In other words, Affleck's Dunkin' obsession has become the best kind of free advertising. It is coming from someone that genuinely loves the brand, with a passion that won't be tarnished by a paycheck. As a frequent paparazzi target, Affleck gives Dunkin' more face time than celebrities who avoid photographers (or, who are more low key about their love for Dunkin'.)

Anecdotally, it's a relationship that is paying off for Dunkin'. Finger said he has found himself craving Dunkin' after seeing yet another paparazzi shot of Affleck with his iced coffee. (Weber said she is always craving Dunkin'.) And, while Whittmer said she would have bought the Dunkin' Homesick candle without Affleck's influence, the Affleck-Dunkin' connection has made her appreciate both more in 2020. 

"I have always loved both, but I have never thought more about either," Whittmer said. 

Read the full story of how Dunkin' stole Starbucks' crown as king of social media in 2020 here. 

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