Ben & Jerry’s UK

How does an ice cream business use TV and Twitter to crowdsource a new flavour?


Use Twitter combined with TV to encourage ice cream fans to submit suggestions for a new and unique Ben & Jerry’s flavor (target audience: age 18 -34).


Used a Promoted Trend and Promoted Tweets with TV conversation targeting to launch a contest asking users to submit flavour ideas with the #MyBenandJerrys hashtag.


  • 61% increase in mentions when TV was combined with Twitter
  • 6.8K additional followers
  • 15.2% peak Promoted Tweet engagement rate

Founded in 1978 in Vermont by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s is famed for its super-premium ice cream in a wide variety of chunky and swirly flavours, using the finest quality ingredients. A Vermont corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Ben & Jerry’s also prides itself on acting in a socially and sustainably responsible fashion.

The challenge

In the past, @benandjerrysUK has used its website and other social networks to solicit ideas for new flavours. This time, Ben & Jerry’s wanted to try a fresh approach to developing a new flavour as part of a wider campaign to engage its fans, so it turned to Twitter. TV advertising would be a key component of this campaign and @benandjerrysUK decided to extend its television spots onto Twitter using the hashtag #MyBenandJerrys and encourage consumers to tweet their flavour suggestions. 

The solution

The brand used a Promoted Trend to drive campaign awareness and Promoted Tweets targeting specific interests, keywords and search. In addition, for the first time, @benandjerrysUK trialled TV conversation targeting. The brand was one of the first to trial this targeting capability. This enabled the brand to extend the reach of its TV ad campaign, which featured the #MyBenandJerrys hashtag, and promote Tweets to users who engaged with specific shows. As a result, @benandjerrysUK could reach the most relevant part of the audience it wanted to connect with and invite fans to suggest their own flavour. The one lucky winner of the competition received their own private supply of this unique flavour delivered direct to their door.

Central to the campaign was the creation of a hashtag, so @benandjerrysUK invested time and effort in coming up with the right one. It wanted something that included the brand name without being unwieldy while giving consumers a sense of ownership (hence the use of the ‘my’). #MyBenandJerrys met all three of these requirements.

@benandjerrysUK launched its campaign with a content plan created in partnership with media agency @mindshare_uk. The content was based around rich media, a focus on what was popular on TV, (including shows such as the BBC’s ‘The Great British Bake-off’) and being real-time and reactive.

As part of its bid to spark conversation, @benandjerrysUK targeted a number of celebrity Tweeters. It sent Tweets name checking the likes of 2013 @thexfactor boy band contestants @Kingslandroad, @Craigdavid and @Madonnanation among others.

@mindshare_uk also used online listening tools (@SecondSync) to understand the patterns of conversation surrounding popular TV shows in order to inform its content strategy.

As fans began to tweet their desired #MyBenandJerrys concoctions, the brand rewarded users by creating personalised infographics of their suggestions such as this one featuring a core flavour of cream cheese frosting and carrot cake chunks.

As the TV ads aired, @benandjerrysUK engaged with user Tweets by favouriting, retweeting and replying to encourage two-way conversation and demonstrate responsiveness.

“Twitter’s TV Targeting was a great way for us to get that breadth and depth of engagement, which is so key to creating a connection with consumers. It’s that which can make all the difference. As a community we need to start thinking more about how our TV creative can influence and encourage conversation online.”

Rhodri MorganSenior Brand Manager, Ben & Jerry’s UK

The results

The campaign exceeded expectations for @benandjerrysUK and significantly outperformed category benchmarks.

This strong performance was reflected in the campaign’s Promoted Tweets, which recorded an average engagement rate of 5.6% and a peak engagement rate of 15.2%. Promoted Tweets with TV conversation targeting achieved an engagement rate as high as 8.53%.

Equally successful was the Promoted Trend, which notched up a 19.4% engagement rate.

The choice of the #MyBenandJerrys hashtag also paid off. It was widely adopted by those taking part and racked-up more than 9,600 mentions. Many of those also followed @benandjerrysUK, which attracted an additional 6,800 new followers.

“The @benandjerrysUK brand is really about getting out there and meeting consumers. You can’t meet them all face to face, so Twitter is great for allowing @benandjerrysUK to connect and give consumers a connection. It allows us to have a dialogue with @benandjerrysUK ice cream fans.”

Steph MilesDesign & Digital Creation Manager, Ben & Jerry’s Europe

3 keys to success

  1. Spend time creating the right hashtag.
    @benandjerrysUK placed a big focus on creating the right hashtag for its campaign. With #MyBenandJerrys, it launched a hashtag that worked hard on a number of levels: It not only had the benefit of being snappy, but also included the brand name and gave consumers a sense of ownership and involvement.
  2. Integrate your TV and Twitter campaigns to extend your reach.
    TV combined with Twitter advertising campaigns deliver more engaging brand messages whilst making it easy for marketers to run always-on Twitter campaigns that complement and amplify TV advertising. The #MyBenandJerrys TV ad campaign ran alongside a Promoted Trend and Promoted Tweets.
  3. Create rich content.
    For #MyBenandJerrys campaign, @benandjerrysUK worked closely with the social content creation team at @mindshare_uk to prepare a raft of rich and shareable content ideas to share with ice cream fans. The best performing Tweets in the campaign were retweeted and favourited hundreds of times.