Ben & Jerry's on why it's time for brands to stand up for what they believe in - whatever the consequences
Images sources in order of appearance: Ben & Jerry’s, Pinterest
Confectionary giant Ben & Jerry’s may be famous for their dessert options, but in recent years the brand have become increasingly active in promoting support for causes they believe in – from climate change to LGBTQ rights. So, as the political discourse in Brazil becomes increasing confrontational, they took action. How? By acting as a RECONCILIATION BRAND, and helping people with opposing views see the other side of the argument (all over a scoop of ice cream, naturally ;).
What was the inspiration behind the #amoreprogresso campaign?
Like many people, at Ben & Jerry’s we’ve become deeply concerned by the growing divisions in our communities. Pockets of fear and prejudice are on the rise. It’s time to choose unity over division and stand with all flavors, regardless of nationality, race, religion or wealth. Now more than ever, love and understanding needs a megaphone.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced while both developing the idea and establishing yourselves within the market?
There is no quick fix to building a more inclusive and welcoming society and it will take much more than just ice cream. That’s why we’ll be adding our voice to movements already under way that align with our values, from community projects that bring people together to organisations helping to improve understanding, build common ground and ultimately drive change from the grassroots.
What is your top tip to other professionals who seek to better understand, and stay ahead of, consumers’ changing expectations?
One thing’s for sure: we’re not shy about speaking up, making a case, creating a campaign – or even a flavor – to build awareness and support for the social & environmental issues that we feel strongly about. Over the years we haven’t been shy about taking a stand on issues that we care about, even when they’re controversial. You could say that our passion for justice has been baked right into everything we’ve ever done. Our top tip – stand up for what you believe in and help your fans to take a stand too.
You’re featured in our RECONCILIATION BRANDS briefing – looking at why smart brands are taking action to promote social harmony and repair the bonds of our shared humanity! Where do you see this strand of consumer behavior and expectation heading?
At Ben & Jerry’s we’ve always believed that the potential of our business is bigger than just selling the world’s best ice cream. We use our company to advance issues of climate and social justice and advocate for change. From climate justice to LGBT rights, Ben & Jerry’s has historically stood up for what we believe in. Our mission is to make the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way – this is why our fans love us and this is why we will keep standing up for the issues we believe in time and time again.
What is your favorite recent innovation and why?
In 2015, in the lead up to COP 21 in Paris, we created a flavor to bring attention to the historic issue and to send out our own SOS for our planet. It was called Save Our Swirled, featuring raspberry ice cream, marshmallow and raspberry swirls, plus dark and white fudge pieces. But how do we tell the climate change story using ice cream? Dig out a chunky spoonful and you can’t help but notice the unique dark and white fudge ice cream cones that appear to be melting. Our stance on climate change and our ice cream is one in the same: if it’s melted, it’s ruined! Save Our Swirled is more than just a “swirled-class” flavor: it’s a climate change message you can’t ignore.
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