Ben & Jerry's brings flavor to environmental initiative

WASHINGTON: Ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's, The Dave Matthews Band, Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT), representatives from Saveourenvironment.org, and a handful of scientists crowded into a room at the National Press Club last week to launch a national campaign against global warming.

WASHINGTON: Ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's, The Dave Matthews Band, Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT), representatives from Saveourenvironment.org, and a handful of scientists crowded into a room at the National Press Club last week to launch a national campaign against global warming.

The centerpiece of the multi-faceted campaign is the debut of new Ben & Jerry's flavor One Sweet Whirled (named after the 1993 Dave Matthews Band environmental ballad, "One Sweet World"). The goal is to make Congress further legislate the release of damaging toxins into the atmosphere, while getting Americans to pledge that they will reduce their personal carbon dioxide emissions by 200 pounds each in 2002.

The coalition has built a website, OneSweetWhirled.org, where people can go to take the personal pledge or send customized letters to their legislators. The site also suggests actions people can take to reduce their contribution to global warming.

The highlight of the campaign, however, is the interactive exhibit that will accompany the Dave Matthews Band on its 15-city tour this summer.

The exhibit will teach fans about global warming, while also giving them the chance to take the pledge, write letters to Congress and, of course, taste the ice cream.

Ben Cohen, half of the Ben & Jerry's partnership, announced at the press conference that his company will be taking steps to significantly reduce its own carbon dioxide emissions over the coming years. Dave Matthews himself claimed that his band would offset any environmental damage caused by its own massive touring entourage by planting trees and supporting alternate energy sources.

Unilever purchased Ben & Jerry's for $326 million in 2000. GCI Group, which does PR for Unilever companies Lipton and Slim Fast, won a competitive pitch in February to coordinate the campaign.

Nike Communications, Ben & Jerry's agency of record, did long-lead work for the launch.

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