How The Donut Daddy Mastered Thirst Trap Digital Marketing

Food & Drink

As a food writer, my social feeds are inundated with clips of people sharing—and I quote—“the recipe that will change your life forever”.

What they tend to be, in actuality, is the recipe of the moment. A little bit of viral food porn to get viewers and algorithms on side before creators dive back into their respective niches.

There are, of course, a few exceptions. Enter Anthony Randello-Jahn, aka The Donut Daddy.

In less than a year, the Australian entrepreneur has amassed over 232,000 followers on Instagram and 43,000 on TikTok trading in food porn alone.

From one video to the next, a shirtless Randello-Jahn might be seen dragging cherries across his tongue, cracking eggs on his chest or fingering citrus fruits.

Typically captioned with phrases like “dripping and ready to eat”, “roll it tight and fill it right”, or “the butter is always creamed in my kitchen”, you might assume it’s all a bit of a joke. Only, all of his recipes result in restaurant-quality food. And promote his businesses.

It’s thirst-trap marketing at its finest.

“Sexuality can be a powerful marketing tool for selling,” says Randello-Jahn, “but the effectiveness of using sex as a selling point depends on various factors: the product, target audience, and cultural context.”

Rather than promoting himself as the product, he tries to bring everything back to his Melbourne-based businesses: Levain Doughnuts and Jamm’d Dessert Bar.

“Levain Doughnuts and Jamm’d Dessert Bar were established long before I became The Donut Daddy,” he says. “As I started from scratch with no money, building these businesses required all my time, efforts, friends helping out and investing all the profits back into the business.”

Over the past seven years Randello-Jahn has invested over $400,000 AUD ($261,890) into his businesses, but the road to success hasn’t been easy.

“There has been many sleepless night because of lack of staff or trying to cut down costs wherever possible,” he says, “but staying creative, open-minded, and embracing new trends is essential.

“Diversifying revenue streams through various sales channels is vital for sustained success.”

Once Levain and Jamm’d were beginning to get established, he branded himself as The Donut Daddy and started to explore what effect edible erotica might have on the business.

Today, Levain Doughnuts alone has grown to a passionate team of over 25 people operating seven days a week.

“My digital presence has greatly expanded my network and provided opportunities for collaborations and business growth,” he admits, though his sights are set far beyond his current success.

While sponsorships, affiliate revenue, and the creation of additional products are all thanks to The Donut Daddy, his priority is turning his audience into customers.

“The aim is to overcome geographical limitations and expand my businesses globally, offering more value to my audiences and clients,” he says.

“In the next 5 to 10 years, I aim to expand Levain Doughnuts and Jamm’d Dessert Bar across Australia but significant obstacles lie ahead, including funding, marketing, product development, staffing, infrastructure, quality control and many, many more.

“Overcoming these challenges is crucial to achieve sustainable growth and maintain the excellence that defines our businesses.”

As it turns out, sex, sweets and social savvy might just be the recipe that changes his life forever.

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