Multifaceted ice cream launch effort is pure gold for Magnum

In 2011, Unilever's Magnum made its US launch, not as an ice cream variety, but as a lifestyle brand rooted in fashion and film.

Client
Unilever (Englewood Cliffs, NJ)
Agency
GolinHarris (Chicago, IL)
Duration
January-November 2013
Budget
$2 million-$2.5 million

In 2011, Unilever’s Magnum made its US launch, not as an ice cream variety, but as a lifestyle brand rooted in fashion and film.

The brand partnered with fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld, actress Rachel Bilson, and fashion house Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet.

Building off that momentum, Unilever and GolinHarris wanted to generate excitement for the 2013 extension of the brand’s newest offer, Magnum Gold, a golden ice cream bar.

Strategy
The initiative, As Good As Gold, encompassed fashion, film, and pop culture to generate brand awareness for the new ice cream bar.

Tactics
Inspired by the Magnum Gold bar, couture designer Zac Posen created the first 24-karat-gold dress. The dress would play a starring role in the brand’s TV commercial with True Blood actor Joe Manganiello and model Caroline Correa as a husband-wife duo in pursuit of 75 million gold bars. As a sequel to the commercial, Manganiello and Correa also appeared in a mini-film, directed by Emmy award winner Jon Cassar, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in March.

The gold dress, valued at $1.5 million, was first revealed on Good Morning America and was later worn by Correa on the gold carpet for the premiere of As Good As Gold at the festival. The dress was also worn by Entertainment Tonight’s on-air anchor Rocsi Diaz backstage at the Emmy’s.

In June, Posen curated an exclusive collection for online retailer Rent the Runway with 80 golden looks, as well as a ready-to-wear replica of his 24-karat-gold dress.

Shoppers who purchased an item from the golden collection at the fashion retailer were sent coupons for gold ice cream bars, with more than 60,000 distributed.

The Rent the Runway collection was first previewed at a VIP fashion blogger event. The New York show hosted 17 media influencers to learn about the collection, try on samples, and indulge in the ice cream bar.

Carrie von der Sitt, executive director at GolinHarris, says, "the essence of the Magnum brand was brought to life at the event with decadence, fashion, and all things pleasurable."

Footage from the film festival and promotion of the collection were shared via social media channels using the hashtag #AsGoodAsGold.

Results
Within weeks of the launch, the new bar became the second best-selling flavor among the 13 varieties in Magnum’s portfolio.

Social media engagement included more than 2,000 mentions on Twitter, 1,146 MagnumIceCream handle retweets, more than 5 million Facebook impressions, and an increase of almost 800 followers on Instagram.

The campaign generated more than 1.5 billion media impressions including two Good Morning America segments – coverage of the gold dress with Zac Posen and a plaza segment showcasing the Rent the Runway collection as a part of the show’s Deals and Steals promotion with discount codes for shoppers.   

Additional coverage included an exclusive launch story with The Wall Street Journal and placements in outlets such as Elle.com, InStyle, and E News.

"The global brand continues to reap the benefits of the 24-karat-gold dress, as it is now being leveraged internationally where we’re launching or promoting Magnum Gold," says Brian Critz, senior brand manager at Unilever. "As Good As Gold has set a high precedent for the brand, and all of Unilever, for how a campaign can drive ROI around a single, unified message."

Future
Magnum’s signature Belgian chocolate and vanilla bean ice cream is a focus this year. GolinHarris continues to work on PR and marketing for the ice cream brand’s entire portfolio.


PRWeek's View
Unilever and GolinHarris have done it again with this, their second Magnum ice cream campaign – amping up the high-end glamour element of the brand with a touch of gold. Tapping into the hottest celebrities, trend-right fashion designer Zac Posen and hunky True Blood actor Joe Manganiello, Magnum reinforced its exalted status as something much more than an ice cream bar. Rolling out additional elements throughout the year helped reinforce the aspirational message to consumers.

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