Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Madfest Insights: If you go woke you go broke? That’s bullshit says Ben & Jerry’s

Christopher Miller, Global Head of Activism, Ben & Jerry’s and Kerry Thorpe, Communications Director, Ben & Jerry’s explained why Ben and Jerry’s are always going to be a company that takes a stand.

“Consumers want and expect brands to be involved in addressing the issues of the day. They want you to be leading the fight for changes and social betterment”, Thorpe said. But how does this look? You have two options; purpose campaigning and values-led activism. Whilst purpose campaigning begins with the brand researching what their consumers care about and working out how to align themselves with the cause, Ben & Jerry’s are big proponents for values-led activism, beginning instead with what the brand cares about and then inspiring fans to take action on these causes thereby inciting progressive social change.

How can you go about approaching this from a brand side? Miller and Thorpe had four rules for marketers to take into consideration;

Rule number one: there are no longer sidelines, you have to choose a side. When you make clear statements people move towards you.

Rule number two: generally it’s better to be talked about than not talked about. When taking controversial stands, for example, Ben & Jerry’s critique of Priti Patel’s migrant policies, there will always be pushback but there will also be those who know what you stand for and want to buy you because of that.

Rule number three: the job isn’t to say what’s popular, it’s to make popular what needs to be said.

Rule number – it’s better to be intensely loved by some than indifferent to everyone. Ben & Jerry’s has found that those familiar with their mission are more likely to say they are worth paying more for.

NDA is the official media partner of MAD//Fest 2023