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SCOOP: Ben & Jerry’s responds to claims that they will drop email marketing

SCOOP: Ben & Jerry’s responds to claims that they will drop email marketing

SCOOP: Ben & Jerry’s responds to claims that they will drop email marketing

*Originally posted: Jul 19, 2010 @ 14:03

I scream! You scream! We all scream for clarity!

One email, a blog post from HubSpot and hundreds and hundreds of tweets later and it seems few people bothered to actually ask Ben & Jerry’s what their actual plan regarding email marketing was…until now.

Ben & Jerry's to Drop Email Marketing in Favor of Social

What an amazing concept, drop the PR people @ Ben & Jerry’s an email and ask them! Isn’t email just the most amazing information tool ever?

Here’s the reply from their PR Director, Sean Greenwood, which should clear up the massive confusion which has arisen since HubSpot first posted about this whole thing:

“In general, I think it’s a bit of a misunderstanding.  The announcement came from our UK team, who was basically sharing that they planned to reach out to their fans via social media moving forward.  I think they wanted to alleviate any fears from fans who previously received a newsletter style email to think that they had somehow fallen off the list.  I believe they’re still keeping email as a venue for special events/opportunities as they mentioned they might still reach out via email.

Again, this was a note from our UK team.  I believe the rest of the Ben & Jerry’s folks around the globe (including us here at the HQ in Vermont who support the U.S. and the globe) are planning to continue to use: email, social media, text messaging, augmented reality, snail mail, vanilla guerrilla marketing, grassroots Social Mission endeavors, sky writers, deep-sea divers and of course… scoop trucks on the road.”

– Sean Greenwood, Ben & Jerry’s

So, according to Sean, the email that so many people seized on as proof that Ben & Jerry’s was dropping email marketing was actually a proactive move on their U.K. group’s part to reassure their subscribers (who obviously want to communicate with Ben & Jerry’s) that they hadn’t been removed from their subscriber list!

Here’s the original Ben & Jerry’s U.K. email which started the whole thing! (Thanks to Laura Dinneen!)

The Ben & Jerry's UK Email which started the Rumours

The discussion this past week via email, blogs and Twitter has been more political than practical. Fueled almost entirely by at best wishful thinking and even, personal agendas. Keep this in mind the next time you see some tweet or blog post predicting the imminent death of something. That way we can all avoid brain freeze.

Oh and don’t forget to sign up for the Ben & Jerry’s email newsletter here!

Leave a Comment for Your Chance to Win Free Ice Cream!

Just to show their love for email, Ben & Jerry’s is giving us some free pint coupons to give away! Just leave a comment about what flavour you like best and why and we’ll pick some of the best and send the author a fee pint coupon!

Bonus points to those commenting who also tweet this story using the auto-tweetme link!

Now that’s cool!

Takeaway: Don’t believe everything you read with out doing some homework.

  • Profile:  Jeff Ginsberg has 17+ years’ experience and is an industry known authority on email marketing who gets in the trenches with clients and helps them fulfill their marketing objectives, increase revenue and brand engagement. Clients rely on him and his team at The eMail Company to provide them with expertise from strategy to technology and from campaign management to channel integration. Jeff has worked with clients across all spectrums in the financial, automotive, retail and consumer packaged goods space. His experience covers both B2B and B2C markets. He has a strong background in educating and training agencies and clients about email best practices and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to marketing tools and vendor selection. While Jeff’s team may be small, they know how to solve BIG email marketing problems. Looking for help with your next campaign? Don’t be afraid to give him a call – Jeff and his team ready to help you today. Give me a call: Toll Free: 877-We-eMail (877-933-6245) Local: 416-225-7711 eMail: jeff@theemailcompany.com
  • Website:  http://www.theemailguide.com
  • Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/theemailguide
  • LinkedIn:   http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chiefemailofficer
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Your thoughts here
  1. It’s been really interesting following this story, it’s made me think hard about my preferences and how email is still my surefire way to ‘get’ a message as I dip in and out of social media according to time pressures.
    That may well change though. It’s also made me aware of the Ben and Jerrys twitter feed etc which I’ll be checking out.
    I haven’t tried Fairly Nuts yet so I’ll use my coupon for that!

    • Hi Bernie,

      The truth is that any interaction between humans is social. The platform simply doesn’t matter. One isn’t better than the other, it’s simply a matter of preference. Find out what your customers want and how they want it then give it to them.

      Email and social each have their own strengths and part of our mission here is to highlight how well they work together.


      Jim Ducharme
  2. Nice to hear what’s up straight from the horse’s… er, cow’s mouth. :o) My fav flavor is Uncanny Cashew (mmm, cashews and caramel!). Unfortunately, I believe that flavor has been retired. In its place, I’d have to say I’m pretty fond of the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Froyo. Nom nom nom, without as much guilt.

  3. Thanks for breaking the story on the truth behind Ben and Jerry’s comments on email marketing. It made for interesting reading….check out our blog: ‘Ben & Jerry’s email marketing bluff: The calm after the storm in a teacup?

    • Oh…I forgot…and my favorite flavour is Phish food…yummmmm! I love the marshmallowy bits! :))

    • And thank you for your great post about the whole tempest in a teapot which resulted! It’s great to see so many bloggers coming at this from different perspectives and especially good to see so many now trying to clear up any misinformation which resulted from the initial news.


      Jim Ducharme
  4. Phish Food of course – love the little “phish” floating around in my ice cream. Yummy. It’s interesting how the UK is moving the majority of their marketing to social versus email marketing. Doesn’t email marketing help drive membership and followers to their social media? Overall I think the two deserve a balanced mix use and not a heavily weighted mix.

    Tammy Vanden Heuvel
  5. I love phish food and chunky monkey. I mean, with a name like chunky monkey and phish food, what’s not to love? I can eat an entire pint by myself! Yummee!

  6. Love the investigative reporting. Thanks for researching this and clarifying the moo-ve.

  7. I love phish food and chunky monkey! I mean, with a name like chunky monkey, what’s not to love! I can eat an entire pint by myself! Yummee! :)

  8. Chunk mail – love it!

    Got to have my Chunky Monkey. What’s not to love: chocolate, bananas and monkey’s three of my favorite things.

  9. Chunk mail ~ love it!

    Got to have my Chunky Money. What’s not to love: chocolate, bananas and monkey’s three of my favorite things.

  10. Chubby Hubby… the chocolate covered pretzels are an alchemical concoction that makes me happy in ways that elevate me to a higher state of consciousness, or alternatively leave my brain numb and worry free…

    But all that aside, I’m ok with the B&J’s UK office move to focus on social media. We’re not talking about the eradication of all email, this is not some radicalized move. They clearly state that they will continue to leverage the email channel but I think it’s a good experiment and since this is only one branch of the overall B&J structure it can’t really hurt.

    Let’s face it, just because they are going to send less email doesn’t mean that people will nuke their from address from their address books. Whenever they want to jump back into the email world they will still have their fans and recipients. Social media isn’t a one way street with no hope of return. If they see an upside to focussing their marketing efforts on the social realm, well I say more power to them and write a good case study on your successes or failures and the effort will not be for naught!

    my $0.02


    • Well said Len!

      For me (as I stated) the issue has been the way this has been used as some kind of political pool noodle to beat out people’s own agendas on this — it’s vindication for social etc.

      DJ Waldo of Blue Sky Factory is dead on when he simply points out that the best way is to offer your customers a choice of communication. Let them wear the shoes they are comfortable with and put the shoe horn away.


      Jim Ducharme
      • Agreed and I think individual preference is the absolute best approach, but I’m just slightly amazed, bewildered and baffled by the response to running an experiment. Aren’t we supposed to constantly re-invent what we do and how we do it? Seems to me like you can’t go wrong, it’s not like social is a desolate waste land. eeeeeh… much ado about nothing. I say stir fry their noodles, politics or otherwise!


        • LOL +1 Len!

          The initial emotional reaction among all of us was enlightening to be sure. I suspect the good folks at B&Js are probably taking a look at communications (I hope) to examine how they handled this one.

          They’ll learn from it, we’ll learn from it and it’s all good. We fall down so we can learn to stand up.


          Jim Ducharme
  11. half baked froyo!

    less fat, all the flavor – and DAMN, I love those cookie and brownie chunks :-P

  12. Even if B&J’s is only dropping their regular email newsletter in the UK, it’s still a mistake if the intent of the UK mktg team is to grow customers’ social participation on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

    Email is the gateway to social media, and a well executed email program can be one of the biggest drivers of a brand’s social media growth. I blogged in greater length about B&J’s “email dump” here: http://blog.pontiflex.com/2010/07/19/say-it-aint-so-ben-jerrys-drops-email-for-social/

    For the record, my favorite B&J’s ice cream is Chunky Monkey – if I win, please send my free pint directly to Brooklyn :-)

    Best regards,
    Jordan Cohen
    VP of Business Development, Pontiflex

  13. I’m a big fan of Ben and Jerry’s marketing so am on their email list (here in the uK). If you haven’t seen it, the email which caused such a stir is here:


    “A little cownfession – it was too hard to say goodbye to our e-mools altogether, so we’ll still send you the odd email on special occasions.”

    They’re not saying goodbye to their e-mooools altogether!!


    • Hi Laura,

      Thanks for the link! I’ve added the NL to the post! Really appreciate you taking time to help us get the whole story out to the community!


      Jim Ducharme
  14. Ha! Thanks for clearing that up Ben and Jerrys. My email marketing soul and the one that loves B&J was at war over the weekend. What a relief. Can I have some cookie dough icecream now? nom nom…

  15. It’s not any particular flavour that puts a smile on my face, it’s my kids reaction when they pass the Ben & Jerry’s display in a store!

  16. Coffee Heath Bar Crunch or Peanut Butter Cup….oh my!

  17. Tragically, I’m not eligible for this contest, but I would just like to say that “Turtle Soup” changed my life.


    Jim Ducharme
  18. “Scoop Shop” Vanilla Fudge Chip. I’m diabetic, and can’t have ice cream nearly as much as I’d like – or hardly at all! So this ‘no sugar added’ flavor lets me enjoy a little B&J when otherwise I couldn’t. Please make more flavors this way!

  19. I’m wondering if that offer is available for us here in the UK – where we’re enlightened enough to appreciate Social Media as the main channel for communication, but also like our ice cream. Oh, and it’s likely to be 500ml (nearly a pint) so perhaps we get short-changed after all…

    • Hi Dan,

      I think we’re enlightened enough to appreciate that what really counts is communicating with your customers in the way which suits them best. In my experience that has been via a combination of channels for marketing.

      Good point on the pint – just a turn of phrase really;).

      To my knowledge the coupons are good in the UK as well. So, what’s your fav flav and why?


      Jim Ducharme
    • D-Fryd, I think our U.S. B&J pints come in at 473ml. Could it be that you’re not getting short changed at all? Don’t even get me started on beer and Imperial Pints!

      – Sean, Grand Poobah

  20. The best flavor of Ben & Jerrys must be “Media Mixed” and not just “Social Ice”. The great taste is all in the mix!

  21. Phish Food is my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor. You really need me to tell you why? It’s yummy: the chocolatey goodness, the candies “floating,” the fudge … Oh, it’s the best.

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