In this edition of Marketer of the Week, Ignite Visibility spotlights Darin Dugan, Chief Marketing Officer at Jimmy John’s.
Ignite Visibility applauds Jimmy John’s for the company’s free side promotion during the month of January.
Guests who want the free side dish need to purchase an 8” or 16” sandwich online or with the Jimmy John’s app. They just need to use the promo code “FREESIDE.”
The offer is good now through the end of the month.
The promotion is aimed at reinforcing the importance of contactless service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jimmy John’s offers the free sides to people who opt for curbside pickup or delivery at home.
Here’s what the company says about its month-long offering: “Jimmy John’s helps fill up your family and satisfy sandwich cravings for less while staying safe at home. Jimmy John’s has been offering unique codes throughout quarantine to help as people find themselves in new working and at home situations, and in many cases, both at the same time. The upcoming promotion will also be supported by a campaign that will run on digital video platforms.”
This past March, Jimmy John’s appointed Darin Dugan to head up marketing for the company’s 2,800-unit sandwich chain.
He now manages advertising, menu development, brand marketing, planning, and new product development.
Dugan also handles loyalty program efforts that the company offers via digital platforms.
He reports directly to James North, company president.
“Darin has proven he can do it all over the course of his remarkable career,” North said in a statement. “His leadership, creativity, innovation and singular focus on guest experience will help accelerate the growth of Jimmy John’s. I look forward to partnering with Darin and realize his bold new vision for the brand.”
Before landing at Jimmy John’s, Dugan was VP of Marketing at Sonic Drive-In. That’s a chain operated by Inspire Brands – the same company that operates Jimmy John’s.
While at Sonic, Dugan handled brand management as well as social and digital marketing. He also worked with the fast food company’s development team.
Before joining Sonic, Dugan held leadership roles at Applebee’s and Kraft Foods.
During his tenure at Kraft, he led the Oscar Mayer and Lunchables brands.
Changes at Inspire Brands
Like many other companies last March, Inspire Brands was forced to make some adjustments. Many of those adjustments happened with company leadership.
It’s not clear if all of those changes were related to the pandemic, though.
During the past couple of years, Jimmy John’s expanded its Freaky Fast Rewards loyalty program. As of March, more than 1.8 million people had signed up for it.
And in October 2019, Jimmy John’s launched a promotion for a new sandwich that included the first nationwide augmented reality Snapchat lens.
Clearly, the company tries to appeal to the cool kids.
Inspire Brands acquired Jimmy John’s for an undisclosed amount in 2019. It wasn’t even six months later when the company appointed Dugan to head up marketing for the chain.
Clearly, management believed that something was lacking and that Dugan could meet that need.
One of the reasons Inspire acquired Jimmy John’s is because company leadership expected to assist the Jimmy John’s on the digital front. Inspire has made significant investments in its data and analytics platform.
By the way, that acquisition made Inspire the fourth-largest restaurant company in the United States. The company now rakes in more than $14 billion in sales annually.
Inspire was formed when private equity firm Roark Capital Group merged Buffalo Wild Wings with Arby’s back in 2018.
Wrapping It Up
Now that states are allowing restaurants to open up again, Darin Dugan’s job may shift a bit.
Still, it’s cutthroat competition in the food service industry. So he’ll still face some challenges.
But if his professional background is any guide, he’s ready for them.