Häagen-Dazs: A Marketing 50 Case Study

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Photo: Tony Pettinato
Bees generate buzz. When Katty Pien, brand director for Häagen-Dazs at Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, aimed to deepen the emotional connection to consumers, she knew "we needed a socially relevant idea ... linked to the brand's core essence."

In response, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, presented a concept built around a news story: A mysterious colony-collapse disorder is killing honeybees, whose pollination is responsible for the health of numerous crops, including ingredients in Häagen-Dazs.

"Because the issue had broader significance than just ice cream," says Ms. Pien, 42, she knew the concept would stretch her media dollars. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the honeybee trade is valued at $15 billion a year.

The February launch of "Häagen-Dazs loves honey bees" included a range of media and public relations while adding a new flavor -- Vanilla Honey Bee. Häagen-Dazs says it's seen sales increase 16% for the year. Brand advocacy for Häagen-Dazs among consumers hit 69%, the highest among 19 brands tracked, according to Häagen-Dazs.

Aiming to hit 125 million media impressions within a year, "we were blown away to see that we reached that goal in the first two weeks," she says.

Not that she stopped there. Ms. Pien testified before Congress, advocating for more research funds. "We're not only raising brand awareness but making a difference in the world," says Ms. Pien, who calls Häagen-Dazs "a brand with a heart and a soul."
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