Dolly Parton collab crashes ice cream brand Jeni’s site
It was a match made in ice cream heaven—country singer and American icon Dolly Parton and Jeni’s, the Columbus, Ohio-based craft ice cream brand beloved by the likes of President Joe Biden. The two collaborated on a limited-edition frozen dessert, a Southern-inspired strawberry pretzel pie flavor set for release today—until a combination of Dolly fans and ice cream lovers caused Jeni’s site to crash minutes before the noon launch. And Jeni’s attempt to downplay the situation on social media only resulted in consumer anger at the brand.
Visitors who attempted to buy online, where there was a two-pint maximum limit, met an error message. “This webpage is experiencing a large amount of traffic. Please try again later.”
A spokesperson for Jeni’s did not immediately return a call requesting comment, but the company later addressed the issue with a statement. It said the site saw 50 times more users than on average and was unprepared despite planning and testing ahead of time.
"We realize our customers are disappointed and we’re so sorry that this was a frustrating experience. We knew the world was excited about our flavor with Dolly Parton and we had anticipated the Strawberry Pretzel Pie pints selling out fast," Jeni's said. "All of our resources were focused on getting this fixed and we wish we would have gotten an update out sooner. We’re still working through when we can make the flavor available and how we can make this right. We will let everyone know via social and email when the flavor is back."
Early in the day, the brand had tried to playfully address the issue on social media, asking “Did y’all just break our website?”
Consumers were anything but amused, with fury increasing the longer the outage went on. Twenty minutes into the crash, Jeni’s Instagram had racked up nearly 500 comments. Even other brands weighed in, with intimates purveyor MeUndies posting a screenshot of the crash.
Many fans voiced their outrage, with some complaining that the brand’s silence, beyond the initial tweet, was unhelpful to the situation.
Some also noted that Jeni’s heavily promoted the collaboration, but neglected to update customers on the status of the technical issues.
Parton has had collaborations before. She recently partnered with Williams Sonoma on a holiday home collection. The singer, who just re-recorded her hit song “9 to 5” as “5 to 9” for Squarespace’s Super Bowl commercial, has also been in the news recently for her assistance funding the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine—another product that had Americans scrambling to hit refresh. It remains unclear which was easier to get—a dose of vaccine or a scoop of her ice cream.
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