Over the past year, we’ve seen many brands take activist actions in support of issues close to the company or stakeholders. Whether that’s the Penzey’s Spices CEO note after the 2016 presidential election or Patagonia’s lawsuit against the president, many brands are no longer afraid to wade into contentious topics – including politics. And the latest exmample? Ben & Jerry’s* has launched a new ice cream flavor – just eight days before the United States midterm elections – aimed at celebrating activists who “lick injustice.”
This week, Ben & Jerry’s launched Pecan Resist, a limited batch ice cream flavor and campaign to “champion those fighting to create a more just and equitable nation.” The campaign specifically targets the current administration, and according to the company’s website, seeks to “peacefully resist the Trump administration’s regressive and discriminatory policies and build a future that values inclusivity, equality, and justice for people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, refugees, and immigrants.” As part of the effort to celebrate these movements, Ben & Jerry’s is highlighting four groups focused on “freedom, belonging, community, and justice” including Color of Change, Honor the Earth, Women’s March and Neta. To bolster the efforts of each of these organizations, Ben & Jerry’s is making a $25,000 donation to each and encouraging fans to sign up and engage with the groups.
In the heated days leading up to the election, the Ben & Jerry’s move will certainly see detractors. In fact, few companies have so boldly aligned their brands – and their products – against an entire presidential administration. Yet, the move is entirely in line with the history and values of Ben & Jerry’s. A statement released by the company explains, “Ben & Jerry's feels that it cannot be silent in the face of President Trump's policies that attack and attempt to roll back decades of progress on racial and gender equity, climate change, LGBTQ rights, and refugee and immigrant rights – all issues that have been at the core of the company's social mission for 40 years.” Although not many brands can boast four decades of social mission, the campaign highlights how companies with the credibility to lead with Purpose can authentically act on potentially divisive issues.