We're all familiar with our favorite delicious ring of sweet bread and sugar...the donut...or it is doughnut? When's the last time you spelled out doughnut? Probably not within the past decade or so and it's no coincidence.
Check out this Google Trends for donuts (blue), doughnuts (red), and Dunkin' Donuts (yellow). Nobody is searching for doughnuts. It's all about donuts now! What's really great is that donuts is searched more frequently thank Dunkin' Donuts which indicates that people just assume doughnuts are supposed to be spelled donuts.
This is an excellent example of a proprietary eponym. This is when a brand name becomes synonymous with a product or service due to it's popularity or significance in its respected market.
Some famous examples include: Ziploc, Kleenex, Q-Tip, Band-Aid, and Google.
These are very common things that you ask for by name. Ziploc (plastic bag with plastic zipper closure), Kleenex (tissues), Q-Tip (cotton swabs), Band-Aid (Bandages), and Google (Search Engine).
So does this mean Dunkin' Donuts has convinced us to change the spelling of doughnut to just donut?
Dunkin' Donuts was founded in 1950 and by 1966 the franchise had opened over 100 stores in the United States.This Ngram graph even shows the increase in the use of donut in publications that follows the same trend of the rise of the Dunkin Donuts franchise.
Can't tell us that's not from the marketing genius that is Dunkin' Donuts. Here we are almost 70 years later and they continue to be leaders in donuts, design, and customer experience.
They created their own app in 2016 that allowed ordering up to 24 hours in advance at their desired pick-up location. This is something that was a digital innovation at the time.
Their website has a high contrast color option to increase easy navigation of the website for those who are visually impaired. This option makes the design aesthetically pleasing but also delivers a functional user experience and reaches a wider range of the population.
So what do y'all think? Donuts or doughnuts...but don't go nuts trying to decide.
Amanda Prince, Social Media Manager | Americom Marketing