Vermont’s famous ice cream markers, Ben & Jerry’s, started the City Churned campaign summer of 2013; where five major cities voted in traditional and non-traditional ways to create a unique flavor that capture elements of the city. The five major cities were Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Washington DC and New York City. Ben & Jerry’s also teamed up with local favorites to make the flavor even more represent the city it is for. At the end of the summer, Ben and Jerry’s served the final product the city chose at community events.
Ben & Jerry’s objective from start this campaign was of course to increase sales, but also to create a deeper connection was their consumers, Mike Hayes, Ben & Jerry’s assistant digital marketing manager, told Adweek. Another main objective of the City Churned campaign was to remind people of the social mission the company stands for and the importance of local roots. Their social mission is about keeping ingredients real (no GMO’s) and doing what is best for the planet at large. The company wanted to also focus on the importance of local roots by using products from companies local to that city.
There were main three strategies that Ben & Jerry’s used in order to meet their objectives. The first strategy was having an interactive campaign. They made it so people were voting by doing everyday life activities, such as what turn gate you use when heading to train. The second strategy was taking a modern twist on crowdsourcing. They used the traditional method of having a website where people would directly vote right there, but also used new different ways to gather even more input. Ben & Jerry’s teamed up with transportation services popular to the city to count votes as well.
In New York City, the cabs headed uptown counted as a vote towards peppermint, whereas a cab headed downtown was a vote Fairtrade vanilla. In Portland, they watched the men entering Cartopia and whether he had a mustache or a beard was vote for different flavors. The last strategy they used was making local elements the main part of the campaign. This made locals to the city or people who knew the place interested in what was being picked. That created a lot of free press for Ben & Jerry’s. Local newspaper throughout the summer kept track of the voting and what was happening.
Some of the techniques that Ben & Jerry’s used to accomplish the goal was repetition. Their name was all around the cities, especially at local hot spots. They also promoted the product being special to each city by capturing the local elements and flavors, and letting the people decide what flavors and elements really show the city. Another technique used was creating excitement, which created participation. The whole campaign was based around the people getting what they wanted. People took pictures are local monuments and used the hashtag for their city to vote and get into the campaign.