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Have a black belt in social media marketing? You may want to sign up for the ‘Dunkin’ Donuts Start-up Turbo Shot’ challenge

Think of it as an elevator-pitch competition for social media marketing ideas, only with some of the pitches submitted by video.

That seems to be the idea behind a Friday announcement from Dunkin’ Donuts and its ad agency, Hill Holliday of Boston. In a press release, the two said they are sponsoring a competition --- dubbed the Dunkin’ Donuts Start-up Turbo Shot --- that asks start-ups from across the country to devise a plan that will help make Dunkin’ “the most social brand in America.”

The event will pit start-up companies against one other to “pitch Dunkin’ Donuts their idea for addressing a specific marketing challenge,” Dunkin’ and Hill Holliday said. The winner “will get $5,000, access to and advice from senior Hill Holliday and Dunkin’ Donuts team members, and also have the chance at a paid assignment to execute the idea.”


Based in Canton, Dunkin’ Donuts is a restaurant change specializing in coffee and baked goods. On the chain’s behalf, Hill Holliday devised the “America runs on Dunkin’” ad campaign. (Other Hill Holliday clients include Verizon Wireless, Bank of America, Liberty Mutual, John Hancock, the Chili’s restaurant chain, and the drug maker Novartis.)

The Dunkin’ Donuts Start-up Turbo Shot competition will be part of FutureM, a marketing event scheduled for next month at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston. The organizer of FutureM is the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange.

Entrants in the turbo competition are asked to submit a three-minute video that explains how the start-up can help make Dunkin’ Donuts “the most social brand in America.” Pitch videos will be accepted through Oct. 10, and the finalists announced a few days later. On Oct. 23, the finalists will make pitches to a panel of judges at FutureM. Dunkin’ said it will announce the winner “on the spot.”


In a statement, Scott Hudler, a Dunkin’ vice president, said: “We’re always looking for new and unique ways to celebrate our passionate Dunkin’ Donuts fans through innovative social media campaigns and initiatives. As our community of fans and followers continues to grow, we’re excited about the opportunity to offer one start-up a chance to add value to our social media program.”

Hill Holliday, meanwhile, is linking the Turbo Shot event to its Project Beacon program, which is designed to deepen the ad agency’s relationship with start-up companies. The program launched last year, and its first class was made up of 12 start-ups, Hill Holliday said.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.