Dunkin' Donuts (NASDAQ: DNKN) is always on the hunt for its next seasonal hit. Every few months, the coffee and doughnuts chain trots out a variety of flavors ranging from the expected to the slightly bizarre.

The goal is to find a drink or food item that consumers will not only sample, but be inspired to come back for. A popular seasonal beverage creates excitement when it's launched, and builds buzz in succeeding years as it's brought back.

In that pursuit, Dunkin' has partnered with the Girl Scouts to introduce a line of coffee and espresso beverages with flavors based on three of the organization's beloved cookie varieties: Thin Mints, Coconut Caramel and Peanut Butter Cookie. All three will be available through May.

What is Dunkin' doing?

This move gives the chain an opportunity to offer beverages that are both new and familiar. People know what Girl Scout cookies taste like (and they love them), which makes it likely that a significant number of fans will be interested in sampling the drinks. As the company explained in its press release:

New Thin Mints flavored coffee features the classic cookie's combination of cool mint and decadent chocolate, while new Coconut Caramel flavored coffee treats guests to the taste of toasted coconut together with creamy caramel. With new Peanut Butter Cookie flavored coffee, Dunkin' Donuts has crafted its first-ever coffee featuring the flavor of mouth-watering peanut butter (without allergens).

This is a smart play by Dunkin' Donuts. The chain gets to offer a new line of coffees and other beverages that consumers already understand even without sampling. That should drive sales among consumers curious to see how well the company can translate the familiar cookie flavors into drinks.

This is a good partnership

In addition to boosting its seasonal beverage lineup, partnering with the Girl Scouts also creates a positive association for Dunkin' Donuts. And many of the chain's locations, which are owned by franchisees, will allow local Girl Scout troops to sell cookies in their stores.

"Our guests have come to expect and enjoy fun, innovative flavors from us, and what could elicit more smiles than the iconic taste of Girl Scout Cookie-inspired flavors in your favorite Dunkin' Donuts coffee?" said Senior Director of Integrated Marketing Patty Healy in a press release. "It's a natural fit and a powerful combination."

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The author(s) may have a position in any stocks mentioned.

Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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