Are fuel-driven deals worth pumping?

Discussion
Sources: Krispy Kreme; Dunkin’; Bojangles
Apr 18, 2022

Aligned to the hike in fuel prices, Krispy Kreme is offering a dozen Original Glazed Doughnuts every Wednesday for a limited time for the price of a gallon of regular gas.

The program runs from Apr. 13 to May 4. The chain set the price at $4.11, the national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. that week, and will adjust it every Monday. The typical cost of a dozen original glazed donuts runs around $11 but can reach up to about $20 in major cities.

Inflation and high gasoline prices are serious and forcing families to make tough tradeoffs,” said Chief Marketing Officer Dave Skena, in a statement. “We know that despite the high gas prices people have to be out and about anyway. So, for the next several Wednesdays, we hope providing a little doughnut deflation will allow them to share some smiles during a difficult time.”

The national price of gas climbed 18.3 percent in March — peaking at all-time high of $4.33 — and has risen 48 percent in the past 12 months, bringing back a flurry of fuel-based deals not seen since the gas crisis in the seventies.

Other recent promotions from retailers:

  • Bojangles announced on April 4 it was giving away $1 million in free gas. Every purchase of a Bojangles Family Meal — with 12 or 20 pieces of bone-in chicken, biscuits, sides and iced tea — includes a $10 gift card, while supplies last.
  • Dunkin’ is offering Shell Fuel Rewards members the opportunity to save 30 cents per gallon at Shell stations through May 12 after their fifth beverage purchase at Dunkin’ with linked DD Perks and Fuel Rewards accounts. The offer is three-times the 10-cents savings offered under the “Sip Dunkin’, Save at Shell” campaign.
  • Canadian Tire is offering double Triangle Rewards under its loyalty program when customers fuel up at any of its gas stations across Canada through June 19.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Do you think fuel-based promotions today will be significantly more effective than if they were run at the same time last year? What advice would you give about running fuel-based messaging and offers in the current climate?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"It will be interesting to see if more essentials will be part of this, as retailers and grocery operations have plenty of opportunities to extend goodwill in difficult times."
"As long as fuel prices are in the mind of consumers, fuel based promotion will work..."
"Using the national price of fuel as an incentive to get people into Krispy Kreme is a great idea."

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18 Comments on "Are fuel-driven deals worth pumping?"


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Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

It’s a great time for retailers to pump fuel-based promotions, if only because near-endless media coverage backs them up. Some of the campaigns may seem gimmicky but that is exactly what will drive word-of-mouth.

Jeff Weidauer
BrainTrust

Using the national price of fuel as an incentive to get people into Krispy Kreme is a great idea. With fuel prices – and inflation in general – so top-of-mind, this promotion has a strong appeal and will likely be very effective.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Merchant Director
7 months 16 days ago

At this point in time, fuel-based promos are definitely of interest and any promo to save on a fill up is definitely a welcome sight.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

If you had asked me this before sky-rocketing inflation and untenable frustration about rising fuel costs, I would have paused longer before responding. Things are different at this time with the challenging circumstances we face in this country. I applaud Krispy Kreme and say go for it. My only concern is whether consumers will prioritize donuts among their “essentials” as earnings become increasingly squeezed.

Phil Rubin
BrainTrust

The price of fuel, and consumer sensitivity around it – even when it might seem irrational to go out of one’s way for a savings of $0.03/gallon – makes a promotion like this highly relevant. Even more so given the recent rise in fuel prices, which now corresponds to a rise in the price of a dozen donuts!

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Our society was perpetually turning lemons into lemonade throughout the pandemic. With the rising inflationary rates and the increasing gas prices, consumers face new pressures. While typically fuel-driven deals wouldn’t resonate with customers, cross-product promotions, such as Krispy Kreme’s, may be a welcome development considering the relentless media coverage of our inflationary state and gas prices.

It will be interesting to see if more essentials will be part of this movement, as retailers and grocery operations have plenty of opportunities to extend goodwill during difficult times.

Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

If I were a grocer with gas pumps, I’d be touting our always-on fuel points you get by buying gift cards that you can turn into discounts either off groceries or gas — both highly desirable right now. No need to wait for a particular day of the week or daypart to get it.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

The value of fuel-based promotions, even if they give little real incentive to participate, is that fuel is so top-of-mind. They are simply hopping on a hot topic and even making it a little fun.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Why not, it’s exactly the kind of campaign that can go viral and win more exposure in the market. Look at us talking about it here.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

YES! In a WORLD of escalating prices, specifically on basics (and of course gasoline) while other companies are increasing such things such as delivery charges, this soft and pleasant offer I believe provides a lot of good publicity and awareness. How can this be anything but good?

Katie Thomas
BrainTrust

This is a win-win for both consumer and brand, which can be a hard balance to strike. Consumers get the deal, the retailer gets their business. I love that brands were willing to act fast and directly address a major, current consumer concern.

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

As long as fuel prices are in the mind of consumers, fuel based promotion will work, if anything on social media and by word-of-mouth, to drive traffic. I am sure the marketing agencies are constantly looking at trending topics and figuring out how to tie campaigns into them, and fuel prices is definitely one of them and it’s apolitical enough to latch onto with a low risk of blowback.

Nicola Kinsella
BrainTrust

Trend-jacking the surge in gas prices is smart marketing. They’re top of mind. But surging gas prices are also driving higher demand for electric vehicles. Long term, it will be even more interesting to see which gas station chains manage to reposition themselves as EV charging stations with offerings that better fit a 20 minute charge cycle rather than a 5 minute pump cycle. Think more short term “sit down” experiences rather than just “grab and go.”

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

The concept of high fuel prices being tied to promotions is brilliant. This is a template for other retailers to bundle a promotion to match the current economic issues with some form of promotion. The only limit is one’s imagination.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

This is a great way to turn tough times into better times. Getting a huge discount in the form of the price of inflated gas at the pump is something many customers will be able to relate to. It’s hopefully short-lived, but in the meantime, Krispy Kreme and other retailers can have some fun with this.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I find Krispy Kreme’s concept rather weird, since (implicitly) the price of the donuts would rise as the price of gas rises…the exact opposite of what one would want. As for the basic concept the retailers are following: I suppose discounts are always welcome, but why not tie them to inflation generally, rather than gas specifically?

Brad Halverson
Guest

Great creativity in these programs and it should help many.

All brand and product appeal aside, Bojangles and Canadian Tire have a welcome CX simplicity about them. For either, a customer only has to take one action within the walls of the business assuming they’ve already signed up, then immediately redeem a reward.

With Dunkin’ and Shell, the customer has to download both apps, link the apps, take action, confirm the connected benefit and then can redeem offers after going to two different locations.

Easy to understand, easy to use experiences often win out with the customer. It will be interesting to watch how the industry gets creative.

Anil Patel
BrainTrust

Fuel-based promos, in my opinion, are the same old deals with new terminology. I applaud marketers for reading their consumers’ minds and crafting marketing strategies that represent retailers as sympathetic companions who will be there for them in difficult times.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It will be interesting to see if more essentials will be part of this, as retailers and grocery operations have plenty of opportunities to extend goodwill in difficult times."
"As long as fuel prices are in the mind of consumers, fuel based promotion will work..."
"Using the national price of fuel as an incentive to get people into Krispy Kreme is a great idea."

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