Twitter and Ice Cream: A Love Story

By Amanda Guisbond (@agbond) w/ photos from Katie Despres (@kdespres)

Who needs location-based social media (hello, Foursquare) when you have a Twitter-branded moving target? Such is the brilliance that is Ben & Jerry’s dessert-on-wheels, the Ben & Jerry’s Truck (@BenJerrysTruck). Granted the Truck is leveraging SM tools such as Foursquare (by staking a claim in every new location) and Twitpic, its main spot is Twitter with more recent stops along the streets of Boston.

And, naturally, how does one elicit a visit from the Ben & Jerry’s Truck – and more importantly, the gift of free ice cream? By using Twitter to beg, plead and bargain with the brand! SHIFT Communications Boston staffers took to Twitter yesterday, in response to a provocative tweet by the Truck, asking for recommendations on where to stop in the greater Boston area. SHIFT’s pleas for ice cream even inspired a #hashtag:

Full disclosure – SHIFT Boston shares residency with a few other big Boston brands, including WGBH and New Balance. WGBH staffers, including @WGHBJoanna were also on the case to bring Ben & Jerry’s to our offices, and even buddy-ed up with us on the cause!

Needless to say, the Truck came through and delivered free, mini-ice cream cups to WGBH & SHIFT staffers, to everyone’s delight. So what does this mean from a brand standpoint? Is Ben & Jerry’s just giving away product? What is the ROI?

  • Increased awareness of Ben & Jerry’s social media presence on Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook (savvy SHIFT staffers quickly turned to Facebook to fan the Ben & Jerry’s page and seek out any additional details on the truck’s whereabouts)
  • Social media-savvy brand support from Boston-based companies actively sharing the Truck’s presence via their own feeds. For example, the Truck visited and was tweeted by @Google, @oneforty, @HubSpot and @ZipCarBoston – and all in a 24 hour period!
  • Increased brand loyalty (or at least the guise of it) via happy consumers everywhere – including SHIFT staffers who posted smiling photo ops like this on their own Facebook pages…

Thanks, Ben & Jerry’s!

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