How Ben & Jerry’s Used Twitter to Promote Its Ideals

Ben and Jerrys ice cream

Twitter can help an established brand underscore the ideals it believes in (and uses to its marketing advantage). Ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s noticed that millions of Tweets contained unused character space, so they created a campaign that promoted fair trade (using the hashtag #FairTweets). They easily could have stopped there and used #FairTweets to encourage a grass-roots movement toward Fair Trade (the organized social movement and market-based approach that works to improve life for producers in developing countries). That might have been enough.

However, Ben & Jerry’s took their effort a step further, beyond Twitter. The company created a micro-site.

It encourages Twitter people to Tweet as they normally would; the website fills in any unused character space with an explanation that the individual is using unused characters to promote fair trade, along with a customized URL linking to the Fair Trade Resource Network. These appeals to socially responsible users (at least in their own mind) by letting them contribute something to a good cause, even if it’s only a few spare characters.

Ben & Jerry’s Multifaceted Twitter Presence

The fair trade Tweets aren’t the company’s only presence on Twitter, of course, Ben & Jerry’s has several Twitter accounts, including a corporate account (@cherrygarcia), a rolling free ice cream truck (@BenjerrysTruck and @BenJerrysWest), and regional offices (such as @BenAndJerryOz). Each of these is well thought out for attracting people to the company’s ice cream, and they also acknowledge the contributions from retailers.

@BenAndJerryOz @coontastic Don’t forget to ring your local store to check if the new flavors have arrived!

Ben and Jerrys ice cream

What Ben & Jerry’s Does Right

Ben & Jerry’s efforts demonstrate several things that a company can do right in a PR campaign, whether it’s for a specific event or for ongoing branding:

  • Ben & Jerry’s highlights a product “feature” that had very little attention, used it to promote a cause to which the company is committed.
  • The Twitter campaign extended past the micro-Hogging site itself. By drawing visitors to the FairTweets page, would-be customers can look at other things the company has to offer, whether in social media (such as a Facebook Like), fair-trade activism, or the company’s home page. That’s far more than they could accomplish with any stream of 140-character messages.
  • The business doesn’t try to make every marketing campaign fit under a single corporate umbrella. Different “departments” have their own Twitter IDs, letting each of those identities engage with its own target market in the appropriate manner.

There’s a lot to be learned, here, when it comes to good Twitter marketing.


Narendra Motwani

My name is Narendra Motwani. I am a professional Photographer. I am also a part-time freelance writer and I love to write on a variety of topics.

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