Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees Campaign

Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream created for the campaign. Honeybee product logo on the left of the flavor name.

Haagen-Dazs worked with the public relations agency Ketchum to create the “Haagen-Dazs loved Honey Bees” campaign. Haagen-Dazs noticed they did not have a way to connect to their customers. They linked this to the issue of disappearing honeybees also known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Haagen-Dazs is committed to using all natural ingredients. This threatened more than 40% of Haagen-Dazs ingredients, so they created the program to show awareness for this cause as well as benefit from engagement with consumers and change their brand perception by showing the relationship of honeybees to Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The goal was to receive a form of passion from consumers and raise sales growth by 1% and the media impressions by 25%. In order to do so, a new flavor was created in honor of the honeybees. A logo of a bee was placed on all products threatened by this issue. A website for consumer education on the subject was made along with produced print and television advertising. Public relations got donations towards research and created a street for consumers to plant bee-friendly habitats to help save honeybees.

Primary research used in the campaign was done with focus groups. The groups were to find out consumer awareness, engagement, and attitude towards the honeybee issue. Groups were also used to determine what consumers thought Haagen-Dazs role in the cause was. Consumers felt that seeing the brand help the cause created a positive feeling towards the brand and its involvement in the cause. The involvement made consumers feel connected to the brand and that they are truly involved and not doing it for sales.

Secondary research was done to show that no other brand had taken this honeybee and tried to create awareness. Haagen-Dazs then formed this issue of the bees as its own cause. Audience analysis showed Haagen-Dazs consumers are willing to support a cause that is genuine and relevant, and want to teach their children how to create a sustainable living situation.

The main stakeholder of this campaign was the consumer, specifically adults who mostly had children. The idea was to create a bond between the brand and the consumer and to have the consumer feel as thought he is part of something bigger than just filling his stomach with ice cream. Another stakeholder could be the other ice cream brands that have not looked into this cause or other causes where awareness can be helpful. Investors will see the sales growth that took place and want to invest or help the cause and Haagen-Dazs.

A business objective of Haagen-Dazs was sell the Vanilla Honey Bee flavor along with other bee dependent flavors, as well as increase sales growth from 2007 to 2008 by 1%. Haagen-Dazs had a 5.2% sales growth by April 2008 rather than the 1% and sustained growth of 4% from April until July 2008. Haagen-Dazs shows what they specifically did to create this change and the measures they took with their new products and campaign. The amount they changed was re-branding themselves to fit the campaign. They also stated exactly how long they wanted to see the effects of the change over the course of a year.

Haagen-Dazs used two strategies for this campaign. They gave the consumers an easy way to engage genuinely and frequently with the brand by making them aware and educating them about the honeybees, showing their concern for the issue, and using products that rely on honeybees. The next strategy was to become the first national consumer brand that supported this honeybee issue and educated consumers about it in a worthy way. They wanted to use the brand name to raise awareness and bring out the “all natural” image of the brand by associating honeybees with Haagen-Dazs.

To succeed in their strategies, Haagen-Dazs took on many tactics. They used donations, created a bee board to speak out, industry outreach, media outreach, broadcasts in local markets, created social gatherings,

But two big ones were the flavor launch and Million Seeds Challenge. Haagen-Dazs created the bee dependent flavor, Vanilla Honey Bee, and promised a percentage of its overall sales and all other bee dependent flavors that had the special logo, to go to research for Colony Collapse Disorder, the disappearance of the honeybees. The Million Seeds Challenge reached bee supporters through Craigslist and MeetUp.com to challenge then and help Haagen-Dazs plant one million seeds to create a place for bees to live.

The media outreach used for this campaign can be seen as an output measure. They used CNNMoney.com to get the word across mass outlets using websites, broadcast, and print coverage around the United States. They pay for this outreach, but Haagen-Dazs cannot control who listens and who does not.

The donations given from Haagen-Dazs to universities and organizations working to solve and raise awareness towards Colony Collapse Disorder could be an outtake measure in the campaign. The logo for the flavors and commercials showing the new flavors that raise money to donate are factors in this outtake measure.

An outcome measure is shown with the Ice Cream Social that took place on Capital Hill. Haagen-Dazs and The Pollinator Partnership held an event to create awareness and share ice cream during Pollinator Week. Media not connected to The Pollinator Partnership and Haagen-Dazs showed up and created more buzz for the cause. Two more nationally syndicated wire stories and a front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle came as a result of this ice cream social.

Haagen-Dazs took a very smart approach to this cause and to making more profit. They had a weakness of not connecting to their consumers, but used their strength of “all natural” to build the connection while bringing in more consumers with the issue of disappearing honeybees. Their efforts did not go unnoticed and people became educated about the cause and their sales values exceeded more than expected. One aspect that was not talked about in the campaign was the budget system that could have been explained. Almost 500,000 visitors engaged on their websites, more than 950 consumers and organizations wanted to collaborate, get more information, or compliment the program. Haagen-Dazs brand advocacy rate went from 13% to 69% bypassing its competitors. Overall Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees was a very successful campaign.


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