There’s no question the biggest trend in Purpose communications over the past 24 months has been companies taking stands on hot-button social justice issues. We’ve seen companies advocate for topics such as immigration and refugees, racial equality, LGBTQ rights and more. And some bolder organizations have even chosen to go head to head with the president on policies directly. Yet, most companies choose areas that are mainstream in the news or trending topics on social. Few go against the grain, taking on problems that have far less visibility. The latest campaign from Ben & Jerry’s does just that.
This week, Ben & Jerry’s* announced the latest in its long legacy of social justice-infused ice cream flavors: Justice ReMix’d. This limited batch flavor available in Scoop Shops and grocery stores was created to “spotlight structural racism in a broken criminal legal system.” With a flavor profile of “cinnamon and chocolate ice creams with gobs of cinnamon bun dough and spicy fudge brownies,” the ice cream ladders up to a multi-year campaign for criminal justice reform. For the effort, Ben & Jerry’s has partnered with Advancement Project National Office, a national, multi-racial civil rights organization working with grassroots organizations on racial justice issues. Co-founder Ben Cohen explains how Ben & Jerry’s works with nonprofits on these campaigns, "We bring every resource we have to support them – our business voice, our connection with fans, our Scoop Shop community and of course, ice cream. Somehow, it's easier to talk about difficult issues over a scoop or two." To continue the conversation, consumers can catch the Scoop Truck on the road, or go to the Ben & Jerry’s website to learn more about criminal justice reform and sign a petition to take action.
While many popular social justice topics deserve the influence and contributions of companies, there is also a role for business to play in shining a light on the under-served issues that face society today. By using not only its marketing engine, but also its fan-fueled ice cream as a tool to open tough conversations, Ben & Jerry’s is advancing the dialogue around criminal justice reform to an entirely new audience.
*Porter Novelli/Cone client