You may be buying Ben & Jerry’s because they make some of the most delicious and creative ice cream in the world. You may buy it because you loved City Slickers. You may buy it for their fun, peace-love-and-ice-cream vibe, and ability to make flavors like Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream, and Half Baked. Perhaps it’s because the brand is a registered B Corporation and makes political stands on the side of social justice. Or maybe it’s because their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is the perfect way to eat-remedy your rage over the need to make such stands. Well, now the brand has decided to put its hippie hat into the $4.5 billion novelty treat business with a whole new product called Pint Slices.
It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Convenient, portable Ben & Jerry’s ice cream you can (socially acceptably) eat with your gluttonous, on-the-go hands. Sold in three-packs and singles, the brand hopes Pint Slices will tap into the 83% of its consumers that already buy novelties, but didn’t have Ben & Jerry’s as an option. It’s taken the company years to figure out how to get its chunks and swirls properly into a novelty, but they’ve designed a proprietary manufacturing technology to make it happen. Starting in early February, Pint Slices will be available in chocolate fudge brownie, chocolate chip cookie dough, vanilla peanut butter cup, and Americone Dream, with plans to expand that roster in the coming years.
For chief marketing officer Dave Stever, getting into a new product category doesn’t mean any shift in the brand marketing strategy–just simply extending beyond the spoon. Ben & Jerry’s biggest marketing challenge remains, like every other brand’s, creating content compelling enough to break through the clutter. Stever says that means being more than just great flavors to its fans.
“We want people to engage with us. We want to connect with them around our values, and we’re finding the more information we put out there about the business and the brand, the better people are responding,” he says. “For us it’s not about a marketing message, but it’s about the company and telling the stories about the company.”
This week, the company posted a passionate denunciation of the executive order President Trump issued barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, asking its fans to sign a petition opposing the ban.
“When you think about Ben & Jerry’s, the simple statement that ice cream means the world to us sums it up,” says Stever. “It’s about how we make the ice cream, the ingredients we use, the fact we’re a B Corp, the fact we use fair-trade ingredients, the social mission. It’s all a great way to connect with our fans. So our main goal is to tell those stories and allow our fans to discover them.”