The Associated Press is reporting that Michael Vale, the actor behind the Dunkin Donuts Fred the Baker character of “time to make the doughnuts” fame, has died at the age of 83. Vale’s character was an American icon up there with the likes of Clara Peller and her “Where’s the beef?” character.
Not to take away from the loss Vale’s family and friends are experiencing, but I hope the powers-that-be at Dunkin Donuts see this as an opportunity to pay respect to the man that single-handedly made the Dunkin Donuts brand an enduring household name.
Imagine, if you will, a television spot during primetime. The spot opens with white text on a black background: “Michael Vale: 1922-2005.” The screen then fades into a quick retrospective of him repeating his famous “Time to make the doughnuts” line. The spot ends with the Dunkin Donuts logo underneath text on a white background: “We will continue to make the doughnuts for you, Michael.” The company could also offer a special, free Michael Vale donut to customers every year on his birthday in memoriam, as well as release his commercials from the archives onto the web to keep his work alive.
I, for one, plan to pick up a doughnut at Dunkin Donuts tomorrow in memory of Michael Vale. I hope Dunkin Donuts encourages everyone else to do the same.