Ben & Jerry’s is mixing up something unique in popular U.S. cities: a flavor as local as a city itself. Calling it “City Churned,” the ice cream maker will be the first of its kind to crowdsource locally inspired flavors that are literally created by the cities themselves.
The “City Churned” campaign kicks off in five markets: Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York, Portland, and Seattle. Each market will have its own microsite that will track real-time votes from the motions and residents of each market. Over the course of several weeks, Ben & Jerry’s will tabulate the activities of each city by means of public transportation, tweets, traffic, landmarks, and of course its people, to create and name its own city-inspired Ben & Jerry’s flavor.
"Name a city and you feel a pulse that is individual to that hub. There's a personality to each location that is distinctive unto itself … some would say a ‘flavor,’" says Dave Stever, director of marketing. "We're going to give our fans something we’ve never given them before: a chance to mix up an ice cream as unique as that city's own flavor.”
For example, in D.C., Ben & Jerry’s filmed and tracked city joggers to help decide between the ingredients peppermint and marshmallow. Northbound jogging traffic along the Potomac became votes for marshmallow, while southbound joggers counted as votes for peppermint. In New York, on-time subway trains will count as votes for either waffle cone pieces or Spoonable Caramel, depending on the subway line. In Seattle, support for Fairtrade Chocolate or Fairtrade Vanilla will, in part, be determined by the number of plaid versus plain shirts filmed on city streets.
Fans who aren’t present at the filming locations can also weigh in on each ingredient match-up by voting online on the “City Churned” microsite. They can also put their creativity to the test by submitting their original ideas for the flavor name. In each market, the campaign will conclude with a community event where, for one day only, the flavor will be tasted and celebrated by the local fans that helped develop it.
To ensure that these “City Churned” flavors are a tribute to the cities themselves, Ben & Jerry’s is partnering with local business to source local ingredients. Companies include Divine Chocolate, Route 11 Chips, Sixpoint Brewery, Spoonable Caramel, Liddabit Sweets, TCHO Chocolate, Kika’s Treats, Rogue Ales, Portland Roasting Coffee, Theo Chocolates, and Caffé Vita.
The campaign will officially kick off in each market when the beloved Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Truck rolls into each city as part of its East and West Coast "Scoop Truck" sampling tour. Consumers can also cast their “City Churned” ballots at select Scoop Truck scooping locations simply by tossing their spoons into recycling bins listed for Caramel or Fudge. Touring the west and east coast for the third summer, the Scoop Truck is still delivering frozen treats for tweets. This year, it is dishing out Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt and in “City Churned” markets it will help facilitate local voting. Follow the Scoop Truck's winding path on Twitter @BenJerrysTruck (on the East Coast) and @BenJerrysWest (on the West Coast).