With the summer just around the corner and the sun getting hotter and hotter the whole world is craving for some cold ice-cream. And let’s face it: no other brand can beat the Ben&Jerry’s taste. But not only is Ben&Jerry’s capable of cooling us down and making our day a little better, Ben&Jerry’s is also an activist brand. Question is: What is an activist brand and how does Ben&Jerry’s try to make the word a better place?

Brand activism

Historically, most brands have been marketed on their performance characteristics. ‘Our washing machine is better than yours’, ‘Makes your clothes cleaner’ etc. But nowadays people expect more than just ‘being the best’ from the products they purchase. This is where brand activism starts. Wikipedia tells us: “Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, and/or environmental reform or stasis with the desire to make improvements in society. Forms of activism range from writing letters to newspapers or to politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing businesses, rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins, and hunger strikes.” So brand activism starts when the future from humanity and a healthy earth stand at the top of a company’s agenda.

How does Ben&Jerry’s do it?

As said before: Ben&Jerry’s is one of those activist brands. But how do they do it? During the OnBrand17 the senior Global Marketing Manager from Ben&Jerry’s Jay Curley made public how the brand meets activist marketing. He said that the company implied a new marketingframework: they now use the 6 P’s from activist marketing. The main goal is to change the way marketeers look at their tools. The framework gives them the opportunity to set up a campaign with the power of a social movement.

How did it start?

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started with selling ice-cream in a little shop in Burlington. The company started growing faster than they expected and they realised they actually did not want to just manage a big company. They wanted to have fun, earn (a bit) money and help making the world a better place. And to give an answer to the question mentioned above: that’s where it started. Just 10 years after they started their ice-cream shop they came up with a mission: make the best ice-cream, achieve financial growth and to better the world.

The social goal from Ben & Jerry’s is social justice, even before the goal was publicly known, they already started realizing it:

  • In 1985 the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation was founded to support local projects

  • In 1990 all the Ben & Jerry’s packages got the Support Farm Aid stamp, this is an organization which stood up for the rights of farmers

  • In 1992 they started cooperating with the Children’s Defense Fund with as main goal to get political attention for the basic needs of children

  • In 2000 Ben & Jerry’s was taking over by Unilever. They now also cooperate with for example Greenpeace

Activist brands for the go!

Put shortly, the ben & Jerry’s goal is to help the world in various ways. More companies should implement social help in their company. So, activist brands for the go!