I’ve always been a DQ fan

310962417498My very first job involved standing behind the counter of the Teaneck, NJ, Dairy Queen and dishing out banana splits and vanilla ice cream. I was paid the princely sum of $1.65 an hour.

And, even though the gig only lasted a few months in-between my junior and senior years of high school, I’ve followed DQ’s fortunes ever since.

That’s why I was delighted to read The New York Times profile of DQ’s new marketing campaign. It’s so smart in so many ways:

- The tagline ‘Fan food. Not fast food’ for example, immediately distances DQ from every other competitor.
- DQ doesn’t call their customers customers. It instead identifies them as fans (hence fan food). I like that. It humanizes a churn-and-burn business.
- The new campaign is an impressive amalgam of integrated online and in-store experiences that’s enriching an already impressively large community of fans (8.6 million ‘likes’ on Facebook and 200,000 Twitter followers).
- DQ understands the emotional chord it strikes with fans. It’s where they had their first kiss or went on their first date. It’s also where the coach takes the soccer team to celebrate after a big win. That emotional chord is critical to building a brand strategy and is sorely lacking in most campaigns.
- DQ marketers apply a very cool rigor to any new idea by first asking: Is it fanworthy? Is it something fans are going to rally around? That prevents the brand from straying off-course with ideas that will only confuse the target audience.

I’m genuinely impressed to see how sophisticated DQ has become, especially in the areas of social media and content creation (check out what they’re up to with singer/guitarist Noah Applebaum who’s promoting the S’mores Blizzard).

Last, but not least, I’m a DQ fan because those three months I spent filling cups of Mr. Misty and adding extra sprinkles to some angry, tired truck driver’s chocolate ice cream cone taught me an invaluable lesson; namely that I never, ever wanted to work in a retail environment again.

Now that’s what I call fan friendly.

4 thoughts on “I’ve always been a DQ fan

  1. You actually raise an interesting point, Ruth. While I’ve never been a fan of DQ’s food, I nonetheless admire what they’re doing as a brand.

    • My wife had to go to a community meeting on Staten Island that had no food. DQ was the only thing resembling “food” while she waited in the Ferry terminal to get home. She wasn’t happy about that, but I agree that DQ is doing good things in brand marketing.

  2. Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway team have done a great job with the Dairy Queen brand. As a veteran of that same Teaneck DQ my favorite is the Hawaiian Blizzard…