TikTok star Charli D’Amelio isn’t shy about her love of Dunkin’, and now the coffee and doughnuts chain is saluting her devotion with a limited-time drink that bears her name.
The Charli, which launches today, is her favorite Dunkin’ concoction: Cold Brew with whole milk and three pumps of caramel swirl.
Almost immediately, people on social media started accusing the Canton, Massachusetts-based company of charging more for the Charli-branded drink than its nonbrand name equivalent.
“The Charli suggested retail price is consistent with the suggested retail price for a medium cold brew with whole milk & 3 pumps of caramel swirl. There is no upcharge,” the company replied in an e-mail to Fast Company.
The cost is $3.19.
A 24-ounce Charli has 200 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 41 grams sugar, Dunkin’ said.
“Everyone knows that Charli runs on Dunkin’, and now Dunkin’ runs on Charli,” Drayton Martin, vice president of brand stewardship at Dunkin’, said in a written statement. “This is the partnership fans have been rooting for since Charli first danced onto TikTok with her Dunkin’ Cold Brew in hand. Charli is one of our biggest fans and the feeling is mutual. We’re thrilled to finally make it official.”
This isn’t D’Amelio’s first such branding deal. The dancing 16-year-old creator with more than 80 million followers has worked with EOS, Hollister, Sabra Hummus, and Morphe Cosmetics, plus she gets paid tens of thousands of dollars for posts. D’Amelio is among TikTok‘s biggest earners; last month, Forbes put her draw at $4 million.
Allen Adamson, cofounder of the New York brand consulting firm Metaforce, calls this a smart and agile move for Dunkin’, because The Charli leverages a popular influencer to attract Gen Zers
“Traditional advertising and messaging embedded doesn’t work. The closer you can link to an influencer, the more traction it has against that younger target,” he says. “It’ll resonate with her fans and be irrelevant to others . . . For Dunkin’, attracting younger users is a big challenge. The brand has a bit of gray hair; it’s a bit skewed towards seniors. They need to be creative in making themselves relevant to younger users.”