Digital strategies and Australia’s millennial foodies: Part II

Doughnut time

“Millennials are often portrayed as apathetic, disinterested, tuned out and selfish. None of those adjectives describe the Millennials I’ve been privileged to meet and work with.”

Chelsea Clinton

For a few years, we have seen many retailers struggle to connect with millennials for a number of reasons. Many have found themselves distracted and left confused by millennial myths floating around the industry, about this supposedly ‘indecisive’ and ‘un-loyal’ market. Others have tried and failed to capture the attention of millennials through traditional methods of advertising.

While there will never be a magic formula that would work for all sectors, over the past 12 months we have seen some businesses find great success by recognising the power of a strong social media strategy and a ‘Willy Wonka-esue Golden Ticket’ strategy on this market in their sector.

Last week we explored the mighty success of the In-N-Out Burger pop-up in Sydney. The combination of strong media coverage pre-launch, with communication of limited stock, limited time and ‘highly Instagrammable’ looking food, branding, packaging and store layout made this pop-up a recipe for millennial success.

This week we look at a couple more – Fries With That (a controversial pop-up explored by McDonald’s), and Doughnut Time (an undisputed Australian millennial success story).

Fries With That

Last month, McDonald’s joined the concept store/Instragram race with a three-day french fry concept store in Glebe in Sydney’s inner west. Being utilised as a marketing and consumer insight tool to promote their new loaded fries menus, the brand tested six new varieties of toppings with the most popular getting the honour of becoming a permanent feature in the Maccas menu.

The concept store caused a fair bit of controversy with local residents attempting to launch a campaign to have the store shut down. However, on opening day there were no protesters present – simply a queue of eager fries-loving fans. Not quite on the level of In-N-Out, but it still resulted in huge social media buzz, with an unrecognisable, trendy Maccas store, complete with young hipster staff and neon fries signage, trending across all networks.

Doughnut Time

Since launching their first permanent store in Brisbane in 2015, the hand-dipped artisan doughnut chain founded by food entrepreneur, Damian Griffiths, has become a multi-million dollar business and has become a firm favourite for young Aussies with a sweet tooth.

The success of this brand, like the others we have mentioned, comes in part from effective use of social media. Doughnut Time’s social media team regularly posts photos of its gourmet treats on Instagram, where it has more than 80,000 followers, as well as on Facebook, where the Doughnut Time page has received more than 55,000 likes.

This January, Doughnut Time teamed up with Sherpa to bring doughnuts on demand with same-day home delivery. As expected, the website crashed, as the brand sold out almost immediately, which simply added to the sense of urgency and desire to get your hands on these unique doughnuts.

While doughnuts were still available at the Doughnut Time stores, ultimately this was the ‘golden ticket strategy’ at play once again, with consumers desperate to be one of the lucky few in central Sydney who could post on their social network that they had a box of the most sought-after doughnuts in town on their office desk.

So, if you’re considering a product or brand launch, how do you go about implementing a similar ‘golden ticket strategy’? Find out next week in the third and final part of this three-column series.

Click here to read Digital strategies and Australia’s millennial foodies: Part I.

Brian Walker is founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group and can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or

Vikki Weston, co-author of this column, is part of Retail Doctor Group’s Retail Insights team and can be contacted via email at .

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