At first glance, Dunkin’ Donuts’ latest commercial might seem like a fun way to show their latest promotion of two breakfast sandwiches for one low price. But when we hit rewind and take a closer look, we see how Dunkin’ Donuts normalizes bullying at work:
- When one man grabs the sandwich out of the other man’s hand, the second man conveniently has a second sandwich accessible as if he expected to have the first one taken.
- While Dunkin’ Donuts gives an accurate portrayal of how workplace bullying works, the issue is that the company normalizes it to a point of trying to make it humorous. It’s only “funny” that the person at the desk is bullied because he’s protected himself against the situation with a second sandwich.
- Dunkin’ Donuts chose to cast a white man as the aggressor and an Asian man as the target. This setup of targeting people in marginalized groups without making it obvious it’s because of membership in marginalized groups — but still perceiving these targets as weaker — is what I call “legal discrimination.” It’s all too common with workplace bullying, with women and Hispanics comprising the most popular groups for bullies to target at work according to the Workplace Bullying Institute.
- Dunkin’ Donuts also made the target a programmer and highly organized, indicating he cares about his work and the organization. People who care about their organizations rather than power are the exact types of people bullies prey on.
Dunkin’ Donuts: we ask you to take a stand against workplace bullying rather than normalize it.