Unilever Taps 360i for Ben & Jerry's Digital Business

Edelman Hangs Onto Global Work for Now

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Dentsu digital shop 360i has made its way onto the Unilever roster as the new digital agency for the Ben & Jerry's brand. The Vermont-based ice-cream company selected 360i -- the agency behind the much-celebrated Superbowl Oreo tweet -- following a review that began late last year.

Independent PR giant Edelman, which supports PR for a number of Unilever brands, including Dove and Axe, was the incumbent on the digital business.

Edelman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to Mike Hayes, a digital marketing executive at Ben & Jerry's, Edelman will retain its global digital business for the brand, but the future of its global digital agency relationships is "gray."

The social-media prowess of 360i was key to the agency's win. "Digital is a growing a piece of our marketing mix, so we wanted to make sure we had the right partner who would work with us to push the envelope and develop better relationships with our fans online," said Mr. Hayes. "360i had proven they are really at the forefront of a lot of things in the digital space, especially social media. We're looking for someone to help bring us to the next level."

As the brand's new digital agency, 360i will work on fleshing out stories and content on social-media platforms over the course of a few months -- a strategy Mr. Hayes calls story architectural development. For example, this year one of the brand's key stories aligns a new Greek frozen-yogurt line with a message about fair trade.

"We have an internal community management team," said Mr. Hayes. "We're looking for [support in] content ideation and story architectural development, which we didn't have before."

The shop will also support buying primarily on social-media platforms and through display ads for key city programs, such as the brand's 11-market Truck Tour. On the three-year-old tour, the brand responds to consumers' Twitter requests for Ben & Jerry's by delivering free ice-cream. Mr. Hayes said that one of the first projects the team will work on will be building out the truck tour to include another interactive component, though he said it's too early to talk about the initiative.

360i achieved about $120 million in revenue in 2012, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

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