All the world needs is peace, love and ice cream — at least according to Ben & Jerry’s.
To spotlight the ice cream enterprise’s newest creation, “Imagine Whirled Peace,” (a swirl of sweet cream-flavored ice cream, toffee chips and fudge peace), the company has gone digital and partnered with Vitrue in a social media-marketing venture to promote, what else, world peace. And, of course, ice cream.
Visitors can upload photos and small text messages illustrating their thoughts and emotions on world peace. For a treat as sweet and light as ice cream, many of the messages are deeper than a sugary treat. Carl R. from Pittsburgh declared, “Peace will only happen when all traces of hate, racism, and bigotry disappear.” Steve H. from Falls Church, Va. advised, “Give one person a break today, and maybe someone will give you one tomorrow!” Anita I. from Chattanooga, Tenn. said simply, “Hate is very ugly.”
“Our ice cream and brand really lends itself to social media,” says Katie O’Brien, Ben & Jerry’s interactive marketing manager. “This particular flavor had to do with peace. It had music. It had John Lennon.”
While the site isn’t going to bring about world peace, marketing a brand, such as an ice cream flavor, is a fresher advertising strategy and proposes a new twist on social media. It seems the best avenue to reach younger audiences these days is through social media sites like Facebook or MySpace, so why not cut the middleman and just start a social campaign right on your own website?
“We see more and more brands and companies frankly using social media to connect and be more relevant with their audiences,” says Reggie Bradford, CEO, Vitrue, a company that has been building social media experiences for the last two years. Bradford notes that enterprises from numerous other categories are expanding to the social media world, from breweries to cough medicine manufacturers.
Customers seem to be connecting, as nearly 70,000 unique visitors have already participated with a message, and at least 1,000 with images since the site’s launch on April 7. The ice cream retailer will begin launching campaigns in their scoop shops throughout the month of August, including signage highlighting the new flavor and social site. O’Brien says the company hopes the campaign will build stronger relationships with their customers.
“Ice cream by its nature is pretty social,” she adds.