What better way to celebrate National Doughnut Day than with a few commercial clips of Dunkin’ Donuts’ ambassador in the ’80s Fred the Baker.
National Doughnut (Donut) Day is on the first Friday of June each year, succeeding the Donut Day event created by the Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the women who served donuts to soldiers during World War I. Today, National Doughnut Day pretty much means that if you go to one of the large donut company stores (like Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme), you get a free donut.
About Fred the Baker
Fred the Baker was a popular advertising character portrayed by actor Michael Vale in commercials for Dunkin’ Donuts from 1982 to 1997. He was best known for his catchphrase “Time to make the donuts!” and the commercial that introduced the phrase (which showed Fred rising well before dawn to begin making the donuts) was named one of the five best commercials of the 1980s by the Television Bureau of Advertising. Fred also appeared in the commercials for Dunkin’ Donuts Cereal.
Fred the Baker was so popular with consumers that when Dunkin’ Donuts decided to retire the character, the chain surveyed customers to determine the reaction to the move. Customers said Fred could leave – if he were treated like an honored friend and employee. So the company created an official “retirement” celebration for him, including a parade in the city of Boston and a “free donut” day that served over 6 million customers on September 22, 1997. After the death of Michael Vale in December of 2005, Dunkin’ Donuts ran a commercial celebrating Fred, including a touching “In Memory Of”.