Ben & Jerry’s first ad campaign in years is a call for more activists

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Dive Brief:

  • Ben & Jerry’s has launched its first ad campaign in nearly a decade, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. The effort was created in collaboration with agency DCX Growth Accelerator.
  • “Make Some Motherchunkin’ Change!” will run via online and social platforms in the U.S. and select global markets through 2024 with out-of-home elements in New York and Los Angeles.
  • A campaign video calls out issues such as climate change, racial justice and gay pride at a time when brands have pulled back on purpose-driven marketing amid the fear of conservative backlash.

Dive Insight:

Ben & Jerry’s is back with its first ad campaign in years to reassert its activist bona fides, even as other brands pull back on purpose to avoid backlash. A 90-second video, “Progress Comes In Many Flavors,” calls on consumers to be activists around a variety of causes — like fighting against food deserts or tearing down outdated statues — in whatever form that takes, like making a speech against the gun lobby while wearing a bulletproof vest.

“We want people to know that their passions and creativity can create positive change in their communities,” said Jay Curley, global head of integrated marketing at Ben & Jerry’s, in a statement. “As a society, we’re facing big challenges, and we’re inspired by people who see it as an opportunity to create community, build power, and work for collective change.”

A page on Ben & Jerry’s website highlights some of the artists and activists included in the video and asks consumers to join its efforts to bring about change, allowing the brand to collect valuable first-party data. Driven Studio produced the social media content and Within served as media agency, with creative from DCX Growth Accelerator.

“Just as Nike believes that ‘If you have a body, you can be an athlete,’ Ben & Jerry’s believes that ‘If you have a heart, you can be an activist,’” said Doug Cameron, chief creative and strategy officer of DCX, in a statement.

A Ben & Jerry's mural

A Ben & Jerry’s billboard at Broadway & Lafayette in Manhattan.

Courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s

 

The video and out-of-home elements demonstrate some of the creative ways to work for change, from wearing costumes and making puppets to building a community library for banned books. The ad tells consumers to send lawmakers a message — while trying not to get arrested — and insists, “If you can bang a drum, bang it for something you believe in.”

Ben & Jerry’s has been banging the drum of purpose-driven marketing for decades. The marketer built on years of advocacy in 2020, releasing a statement and action plan when other brands were scrambling to meet a moment defined by protests against racist violence. The brand’s stances have often put it in a difficult position with parent company Unilever, which has remained committed to purpose-driven marketing but has looked to avoid “force-fitting” purpose across all brands. 

Unilever earlier this year announced plans to spin off its ice cream business, which includes its Ben & Jerry’s, Wall’s and Magnum brands, to better focus on beauty, nutrition, personal care and home care categories.

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