Mailer Tries to Scoop Up More Ice Cream Sales

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Ben & Jerry's, Burlington, VT, will team with supermarket chains to deliver several million direct mail pieces throughout June promoting its newest ice cream flavor, Concession Obsession.


The mailing will tie in with the ice cream maker's Citizen Cool summer event in which people nominate others in their communities who perform good deeds.


"This is one of Ben & Jerry's heaviest periods for selling products," said Bob Bell, chief operating officer at Centra Marketing, Westbury, NY, the promotions and marketing agency working with Ben & Jerry's on the campaign. "It does an event every year, but this year they wanted to do something that reinforced their philosophy of the importance of community."


The direct mail pieces -- part of an integrated campaign -- will announce Concession Obsession, which contains nonpareils, fudge-covered crisped rice candy and peanuts dipped in fudge. The mailings also will include a coupon for $1 off any Ben & Jerry's product and will drive consumers to Benjerry.com, participating supermarkets or a Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop where they can get information on how to nominate someone for the Citizen Cool contest.


The names targeted in the mailing will come from supermarket databases. Ben & Jerry's also will capture the names of the people sending in nominations and the nominees. It will not do anything with the names until it gets permission from them to send future marketing materials.


Three grand-prize contest winners will be chosen in September. Ben & Jerry's is making a documentary about the contest, and the winners will be featured in the film. Other prizes include a trip for two to Vermont to see the premiere.


People will have to describe in 50 to 150 words what is unique about the actions of their nominees and why they should be selected as one of the three winners. They can mail their entry in or send it via e-mail.


Other components of the campaign, which got under way this month, include radio spots; free-standing inserts in newspapers such as Newsday, the Boston Herald, New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune; ice cream truck sampling events; and mentions in e-newsletters from Teen.com and Hollywood.com. Each of these components is designed to accomplish the same goal as the direct mail campaign and to drive people to the Web, supermarkets or Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops.


All aspects of the campaign will run through Aug. 17.


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