Let them drink cake: How Carvel sweetened Father's Day with Fudgie the Whale-inspired beer

Carvel combined two things that appeal to most dads: Beer and ice cream.

Let them drink cake: How Carvel sweetened Father's Day with Fudgie the Whale-inspired beer

Company: Carvel
Campaign: Fudgie the Beer
Agency mix: Finn Partners (creative, media relations, event execution)
Duration:  May 25, 2018 – June 17, 2018

Carvel wanted to help dads have a whale of a time on Father’s Day. The company partnered with Captain Lawrence Brewing Company to create a limited-run stout and a beer-based milkshake recipe inspired by its legendary Fudgie the Whale ice cream cake.

Carvel and agency partner Finn Partners began planning for the campaign in April 2018.

In order to generate buzz and drive traffic to stores for Father’s Day, Carvel wanted to combine two things that appeal to most dads: Beer and ice cream. Finn helped the brand identify Captain Lawrence as good fit to produce a beer based on Carvel’s Fudgie the Whale ice cream cake. Hence, Fudgie the Beer was born.

"We wanted to ensure our campaign would receive national media coverage, given that Captain Lawrence is a Northeastern brand," explained Brooke Geller, senior partner at Finn Partners. "Our solution was creating a DIY recipe for consumers everywhere by enabling them to make their own boozy milkshake at home without Captain Lawrence."

The brand also wanted to drive sales of the beer itself and stimulate traffic to Carvel stores across the country with a media outreach strategy focused on national, local, and broadcast outlets.

In late May, Carvel kicked off the campaign with a media event at Captain Lawrence’s beer hall in Elmsford, New York. The event was aimed at bringing influencers and editors from top-tier publications in New York City into the fold of the campaign.

"We transported them from New York City to Westchester Country via bus to try the Fudgie the Beer milkshakes and stout for the first time," said Geller. "We had Insta-worthy backdrops like an ice cream cart with Carvel’s logo on it and Carvel’s mascot, Fudgie the Whale, available for photo opportunities."

Representatives from Carvel and Captain Lawrence provided on-site interviews during the media event.

On June 16, the day before Father’s Day, the brand hosted a Fudgie’s Family Fun Day at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company. This was the first day the Fudgie the Beer product was made available to the public. The team handed out Carvel swag, including Fudgie plush toys, balloons, and product samples.

The Fudgie the Beer campaign efforts led to more than 450 media placements, including coverage in publications such as The New York Times, Food & Wine, Elite Daily, and BroBible. The media event in late May led directly to broadcast coverage on Good Morning America, Fox, KTLA, WPIX-11, and CNN's Morning Express with Robin Meade.

For the June 16 release date, fans began lining up outside the Captain Lawrence Brewing Company at in the morning for the afternoon release. More than 8,500 fans attended the event.

The brand sold out of more than 720 cases - or 17,280 beer cans - of Fudgie the Beer within a matter of hours.

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