Mystique madness

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts replaced its chief executive officer on Monday, reaffirming the danger of a marketing strategy that depends on the average American’s desire for something being inversely proportional to his ability to get it.

The problem with the strategy, of course, is once you give us something we can’t have, eventually we begin to wonder what the big deal was in the first place.

Nobody was better at the strategy than Krispy Kreme, a North Carolina regional franchise that eventually spread to Minnesota. From Maple Grove to Waite Park to St. Paul, each choreographed store opening featured long lines of traffic, and live radio broadcasts from stations that figured if a doughnut store was opening, it must be news.

And it was, until some months later when Minnesotans realized that they had sat in a traffic jam to buy… a doughnut. Two years later, the company shuttered its New Brighton production facility. Store closings soon followed.

You want ugly? This is ugly.


The company’s stock, which was trading as high as $50 when there was still a Krispy Kreme mystique, is trading for a little over $3 at yesterday’s close.

Minnesota’s Krispy Kreme addicts learned the same lesson here that any beer drinker east of the Mississippi learned decades ago about Coor’s beer (Former Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski used to load up the team plane with Coor’s whenever the team played on the West Coast). It’s called “mystique madness.”

Sometimes, things taste better, when you can’t have it.

  • Ok, but I still really want a Wii.

  • bsimon

    First Krispy Kreme, now Starbucks?

    (Collins notes: At least Starbucks has more than one flavor)

  • I’ve never been particularly impressed with Krispy Kreme donuts myself.

    Being from the East Coast, I vastly preferred and prefer Dunkin Donuts (which I always make a stop or two to get when I am out that way)

    (Collins: Also being an East coaster, I CAN attest to the nature of Dunkin doughnuts. They also have great coffee. However, I have to note that I went into a Dunkin’ in my hometown — Fitchburg, Mass. — a few years ago, and was told they no longer are making cinammon donuts. How can that be? Oh and the doughnuts aren’t made on site anymore. Sigh.)

  • mikeA

    I believe the pet rock had a “mystique madness” back in the day… I wonder how its stock is doing these days.

    For the investors.. If you are putting long-term money in a doughnut or a rock, your not doing something right. Once you stop seeing it in the news.. sell, sell, SELL !!

  • minn whaler

    So enough about donuts..

    or doughnuts

    Why isn’t there a chain that can really, and I do mean really… make a good pizza in Minnesota?

    Now there’s a mystique I want and can’t get here.

    (Collins notes: Because if we start providing good pizza, pretty soon good basketball players will want to play here.)