Krispy Kreme is ramping up its efforts to encourage customers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
This week, the company unveiled its second free doughnut promotion for vaccinated people, and it’s even sweeter than the first one.
Two days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, Krispy Kreme announced that customers who show proof of vaccination will be able to get two free doughnuts every day at their local store between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5, and and one free doughnut daily for rest of year.
Customers who have received at least one vaccination shot are eligible for the weeklong “Show Your Heart” offer and can choose from the chain’s Original Glazed Doughnut or a limited-edition Original Glazed Heart Doughnut. The special heart-shaped treat will also be available for sale throughout the week.
In March, Krispy Kreme launched its first free doughnut promo and announced that customers who had received at least one jab and show a valid vaccine card could score a free glazed doughnut every day at participating locations through the end of 2021.
The campaign has been quite popular (Krispy Kreme has given away 2.5 million+ Original Glazed doughnuts so far), and it’ll continue through the end of the year. But the company was inspired to step things up a bit once the FDA officially approved the Pfizer vaccine.
“We all hoped we’d be near the end of this pandemic by now. We’re not,” Krispy Kreme’s chief marketing officer Dave Skena said in a press release. “So, please consider getting vaccinated if you’ve not done so already. And then enjoy and share two amazing doughnuts with our heart-felt thanks.”
Krispy Kreme started the trend of incentivizing customers to get the vaccine by offering edible freebies. In April, many other companies followed suit, including Shake Shack, Budweiser and Nathan’s Famous.
But not everyone was eager to cash in on the sugary doughnut deal. Shortly after Krispy Kreme launched the promo, the company faced backlash from some critics who argued that the offer discriminated against those who don’t want the vaccine.
At the time, Krispy Kreme addressed vaccine hesitancy, calling it “a highly personal decision.” The chain also offered a free coffee and doughnut to all customers on Mondays through May 24, whether or not they were vaccinated.
Other critics expressed concern about the health effects of a free daily doughnut. In response to this sentiment, writer Kate Bernyk penned an NBC News op-ed arguing that it was a form of fat-shaming and food-shaming.
“I think for me, it wasn’t about the doughnut,” she wrote. I think that it’s just another opportunity to pass judgment on someone’s choices or the way someone looks.”
TODAY Food asked Krispy Kreme CMO Dave Skena what inspired the company to release this second doughnut promo, despite the backlash it had received in previous months, and he explained that the chain is passionate about “Acts of Joy.” He also referenced the other free doughnut promotions the company has rolled out for health care workers, students, teachers and other groups throughout the pandemic.
“We are a warm and generous brand. Providing free Original Glazed doughnuts to those who get vaccinated is another gesture that we hope sweetens people’s lives as the country tries to put this virus behind us,” said Skena.
“Like many sweet treats, our doughnuts are an occasional indulgence best enjoyed in moderation and we know that’s how most of our guests enjoy them,” he added. “We’re certainly not asking people to get a free Original Glazed doughnut every day; we’re just making it available through the end of the year to show support to those doing their part to make the country safe by getting vaccinated.”