Modern Marketing Awards Case Studies Social Media

How Unilever kept its cool in lockdown with The Ice Cream Shop


By Awards Analyst | writer

November 12, 2021 | 6 min read

U-Studio won ‘Best Use of Social Media Advertising’ at The Drum Awards for Social Media in 2021, with its ‘The Ice Cream Shop’ campaign for Unilever. Providing a novel solution for several of Unilever’s brands, it turned a lockdown hardship into a trailblazing new concept. Hear from the team behind the entry how it was done.

ice cream

The Ice Cream Shop brings together several Unilever brands, sitting across four delivery platforms.

As a bespoke brand with modernity hardcoded into its DNA, The Ice Cream Shop is Unilever’s first-ever digital storefront for its ice cream delivery. A trailblazer in this new category, the brand converted impressions to sales by enabling over half a million ice cream deliveries during a seven-month campaign period.

By boosting brand and category awareness of on-demand ice cream delivery, The Ice Cream Shop proved that ice cream delivery was a viable and highly coveted service driven by consumer interest.

Say hello to The Ice Cream Shop.

2020 was a tumultuous year for many. The events of the year rippled, impacting nearly every brand in the world. But where there are challenges, there's also opportunity. With people spending more time at home facing the uncertainties of each day, we saw a way to bring comfort, smiles, and a moment of happiness to people's day-to-day lives - all through on-demand delivery of the world's most-loved ice cream brands.

Built as a storefront across Uber Eats, Postmates, GrubHub, and DoorDash, The Ice Cream Shop had modernity hardcoded into its DNA while bringing together Unilever's individual ice cream brands all into one place.

On-demand delivery was once a luxury but now plays a critical role as an essential service for bringing home necessities. Our idea was to bring America’s most loved ice cream brands to the future, and your front door, with an on-demand digital storefront. We brought this to life by developing the creative visualization of the ‘Fantasy Fleet’, transforming the nostalgia of the ice cream truck into the future of digital delivery.

To successfully launch this new brand, The Ice Cream Shop, we began by raising awareness for the new category of ice cream delivery and owning the space with our digital Fantasy Fleet of delivery vehicles. The fun of dessert combined with the convenience of modern delivery platforms presented the opportunity to create a charmingly engaging content experience.

The Fantasy Fleet didn’t just live in our owned channels like our website and social media accounts. It became an integral part of the brand story and sat right next to our products on our storefront pages across all major delivery apps. Paid media supported the fun and excitement of delivery by bringing the Fantasy Fleet to mobile gaming through an Activision Blizzard partnership. Candy Crush players learned about our storefronts while watching videos that granted them in-game rewards. Everywhere these imaginative vehicles went, the recipients of the delivery were bound to have a smile on their face.

‘No Melt Guarantee’

In addition to low awareness, the brand also had to conquer the misconceived notion that products would be melted upon delivery. A ‘no melt guarantee’ solidified that message as the campaign rolled out. With all of that in place, we reassured consumers that ordering ice cream for delivery was already a process they were familiar with. By partnering with established food delivery services, consumers everywhere were now able to order ice cream with just a tap of an app, already on their devices.

The launch of The Ice Cream Shop wasn’t just an effort in building a new brand; we were also pioneering a new category. Growing awareness for this brand was an important metric, but it was vital to prove that our audience was receptive to the idea of ordering ice cream through established delivery apps. The proof had to be in our results, so sales were a key objective for the content campaign that supported the new digital storefront’s launch.

With a total media buy of approximately $3 million – including social media, digital display advertising and in-app promotion within the delivery platform – we sold over 700 pints per hour from March 31 through October 31, 2020. We also enabled 529,000 ice cream deliveries through our campaign period, generating $20 million in delivery-ordered sales.

By reaching a massive audience, we drove awareness and action for a new brand in a new category that translated directly into sales. What started as a new e-commerce category generated a new revenue stream for the company, making it Unilever’s most successful commerce and distribution initiative of 2020.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Social Media. To find out more, including which competitions are currently open for entry, visit The Drum Awards website.

Modern Marketing Awards Case Studies Social Media

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