Two Scoops of Social Justice, Please.

How Ben and Jerry’s Effectively Delivered a Political Marketing Campaign


We are all well aware that Ben and Jerry’s is a proven expert and connoisseur when it comes to frozen dairy desserts. But their newest stand for social justice and equality has consumers and executives talking. Which is exactly the point.

The Vermont-based ice cream company wasted no time in making a statement surrounding the ongoing political unrest and ultra-tense climate across the country. In the midst of current events, they not only developed a statement, but a full-blown marketing campaign in support of social justice, and a new limited-time ice cream flavor in the process.

Here are the three components of Ben and Jerry’s social justice marketing campaign that not only showcases their beliefs as a brand, but have an impact outside of their organization and outside of their own wallets:

  1. The new flavor, “Pecan Resist,” consists of chocolate ice cream with white and dark fudge chunks, pecans, walnuts and fudge-covered almonds: a metaphorical mix representing their peaceful support of equality. Ben and Jerry’s utilized their diverse plethora of ingredients and chunky mix-ins to represent the opportunity and benefits of coming together despite our differences, to create something great.

Their new “melting pot” flavor not only brings awareness to the ongoing events and policies in our environment today but utilizes their multi-million-dollar platform to show their support and inspire informed conversation.

  1. Ben and Jerry’s has pledged to donate up to $25,000 from purchases of Pecan Resist to four different non-profits whose missions align with their new campaign’s values: Color of Change, Honor the Earth, Neta, and Women’s March.

The brand was strategic in making sure this campaign was not only about them. This conveys the value and importance of these non-profits to Ben and Jerry’s stakeholders, and potentially inspires similar acts of kindness from loyal consumers.

  1. Pecan Resist’s particular pint art is illustrated by artist Favianna Rodriguez, a speaker and activist for social justice, as well as the director of Culture Strike, an arts-driven social justice non-profit.

The brand utilized this opportunity to give a voice to those who are advocating, fighting, and breaking barriers to make change. Sharing their platform to make space for other voices, backgrounds, and perspectives is the foundation of the campaign’s underlying message.

 The overarching impact of their marketing campaign: Ben and Jerry’s put their money where their mouth is. The undeniable risk of making any statement at all, is to potentially lose a particular group of consumers. Fully aware of this risk, Ben and Jerry’s statement showed where their values truly lie; not in their bank accounts, but their values.

The nationwide events leading up to Ben and Jerry’s marketing campaign kickstarted the conversation at a majority of organizations: “What do we say? What do we do? How do we show support?”

Making decisions like these often lead to tough conversations. When you must walk the fine line of corporate red tape, make the customer happy, and still remain a part of the conversation, it’s hard to find the right words. The key to making a statement, is to make sure it doesn’t end at just a statement. You can’t just talk the talk. To communicate a belief or value effectively, your brand, your business, and your employees must actively align with it. Or else, it will come off flat at best, and deceitfully insincere at worst.

We had the chance to participate in a conversation hosted by the Raleigh Chamber and hear directly from CEO Matthew McCarthy on how Ben and Jerry’s believes business is a part of community. They believe it is our responsibility to our community to take action. We can be a powerful force for change and should not assume a seat on the sidelines. Ben and Jerry’s, for the better part of 42 years, have taken a stand on issues – from social injustice to climate change. When we take bold actions, there is always the chance to get it right, but sometimes we get it wrong. What counts is that we are always moving forward.

At the end of the day, it’s about doing the right thing.

To find out more about Ben and Jerry’s recent campaign and activism, get the scoop on their full statement in the article below: