Agency: Schneider Associates (Boston, MA)
Campaign: Baskin-Robbins' 65th Birthday
Duration: July 1st through July 15th
For Baskin-Robbins' 65th anniversary, Dunkin Brands and AOR Schneider Associates created a campaign to celebrate the ice cream brand's history, current relevance, and future.
In a nod to 65 being retirement age, five flavors were retired at a July 14 celebration at Baskin-Robbins' headquarters.
“It was an opportunity to remind people of our heritage, history, and flavor leadership and symbolically make room for more,” says Andrew Mastrangelo, Dunkin Brands' media relations manager.
Julie Hall, EVP of Schneider Associates' consumer practice and social media, says the aim was to engage and celebrate employees while also creating visually powerful photos and video footage to drive media coverage.
“We knew we could stir up consumer sentiment through social media and traditional media in making people aware of the retirement and reminding them of our flavor leadership,” Hall explains.
Holding the ceremony just ahead of National Ice Cream Day, which kicks off peak ice cream season on July 15, helped get a leg up on competitors in terms of media coverage. The timing also coincided with an annual visit by franchisees, who communicate brand initiatives at regional and local levels.
The celebration centered on culinary team members walking retired flavors down a pink-carpet and placing them in an armored truck, which drove them to rest in a “deep freeze.”
A satellite feed that included a taped segment of the celebration in which Baskin-Robbins' executive chef discussed the history of each retired flavor was pushed out on July 14 and 15. Media in California, Chicago, and New York – markets in which Baskin-Robbins has heavy store penetration – were pitched aggressively. National consumer and food media and bloggers were also targeted.
Mastrangelo reports “a significant spike” in store traffic and sales during the week of the campaign and notes that there was no other marketing activity that week.
Hall says more than 105 million impressions were garnered, including a World News segment with Diane Sawyer. Other outlets covering the story included CNN Morning Express, Chicago Tribune, Yahoo, and Fox & Friends. Plus, Conan O'Brien tweeted about the flavor retirement, and Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson mentioned the story in their opening monologues.
Mastrangelo says next year's PR efforts will focus on launching new flavors, including one created by a consumer winner of an online contest that ended in October.