Ben & Jerry’s Cinema Strategy
Warm nights, cold ice cream, and an outdoor movie theater: Sounds perfect, right? That’s what Ben & Jerry’s is banking on, anyway. For the last few years, the Vermont-based ice cream manufacturer has been sponsoring open air cinemas for lucky movie-and-ice cream enthusiasts in locations all across Australia.
Summer boredom buster or clever marketing tactic? As it turns out, it’s a little bit of both as Ben & Jerry’s makes a cookie dough-flavored splash for its summer sponsorship. For its part, Ben & Jerry’s might have tapped into a campaign that ended up being a sweet surprise.
Move Over, Popcorn
For most of the people who attend the Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinema events, it’s just a fun way to spend a summer night. But for the ice cream brand, it’s a clever way to align the brand with the activity. By doling out scoops of ice cream to go with classic flicks and new blockbusters alike, Ben & Jerry’s is successfully planting a kernel of habit into moviegoer’s minds. The next time they’re at a traditional movie theater, it may be ice cream–not popcorn–that patrons ask for in the concession line.
Naturally, the type of person attending an Open Air Cinema event probably already fits Ben & Jerry’s ideal customer profile: Families and young people with some expendable income. The same people who attend outdoor movies are likely the same people who reach for pint-sized ice cream at the grocery store, so sponsoring these events is like conveniently bringing together a condensed version of customer base. Ben & Jerry’s can even utilize the condensed population as a sample for market research: Which flavors are the most popular?
Good Vibes Only
Sponsoring Open Air Cinema Events serves another purpose for Ben & Jerry’s: Creating a positive reputation among customers and non-customers alike. After all, what’s better than ice cream and a movie? This is crucial toward customer based brand equity.
As movie-goers visit the event, enjoy live music, have a treat, and watch a movie, they immediately begin to create memories with their families–memories that conveniently center on their favorite brand of ice cream. This dedication to creating positive associations with their brand is what sets Ben & Jerry’s marketing (different from market research) apart from other ice cream brands. It boosts the brand’s recognition and reputation, while ensuring future purchases from attendees who associate Ben & Jerry’s with a good time.
Even if you don’t get the chance to attend a Ben & Jerry’s event down under, you can definitely appreciate the campaign. By gathering together some of the brand’s biggest fans and offering a fun way to spend the summer, ice cream becomes more than just a sweet treat–it becomes a secret weapon for marketing.