Ice cream brands have cut spend ad spend by 11.8% over the past year taking the total spent on traditional advertising to £13.9m [Ebiquity 52w/e 29 February 2016].

Despite a 45.4% drop in spend to £2.9m, Magnum remains ice cream’s biggest advertiser. Ben & Jerry’s experienced a similar drop, which owner Unilever insists is due to a changing focus.

“Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s and Carte D’or have shifted their strategy and significantly increased their advertising spend on digital TV, social media BTL activity, in response to market trends towards more digital formats,” says Nicola Rolfe, Magnum brand manager. “These particular market trends resonate well with consumers.”

The Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Core campaign reached 12.4m on Facebook and Twitter adds Alessandra Salvo, Ben & Jerry’s brand manager. “Social media is becoming increasingly important for Ben & Jerry’s as a way to effectively communicate with their fans and they plan to invest more this year to capitalise on one of the biggest Facebook page amongst the FMCG.”

Häagen-Dazs is employing a similar strategy in 2016 having nearly doubled its spend over the past year to £1.8m. “In 2016 Häagen-Dazs advertising spend will be the same as in 2015, but the shift will be towards more digital and experiential activation to target younger, millennial consumers,” explains Arjoon Bose, head of marketing UK & Northern Europe at Häagen-Dazs.

Other notable increases come from the likes of Wall’s and Mars with Cornetto getting a campaign of its own to celebrate the launch of new variants including Peanut Butter Love.

MediaTOTAL CinemaOutdoorPressRadioTV
Brands Spend (£) y-o-y% % % % % %
Magnum £2.9 -45.4% - 27.6% 1.3% - 71.1%
Ben & Jerry’s £2.8 -47.1% - - 0.3% 2.8% 96.9%
Haagen-Dazs £1.8 87.5% - - 15.3% - 84.7%
Cornetto £1.7 - - 11.0% 0.7% - 88.2%
Wall’s £1.4 44.9% - 100.0% - - -
Carte D’or £1.3 -27.4% - 0.1% 29.1% - 70.9%
Cadbury £0.7 -17.7% - 96.3% 3.7% - -
Kelly’s of Cornwall £0.6 10.6% - - 3.2% - 96.8%
Mars £0.4 1845.3% - 93.4% 6.6% - -
Nestle £0.3 - - 54.7% 45.3% - -
TOTAL (Top 10) £13.9 -11.8% 0.0% 25.6% 6.7% 0.6% 67.1%

Here’s our pick of the most significant ice cream ads from the past year:


Hollywood hunk Bradley Cooper and Häagen-Dazs is the perfect combo. The Hangover aside, both convey a sense of opulence and class – especially important as Häagen-Dazs is keen to position its ice creams as superior in quality. But Hollywood hunk or no, it wasn’t enough to boost sales which fell 9.1% on volumes down 9.7% [IRI 52w/e 2 January 2016].

Kelly’s of Cornwall

Emphasising its Cornish roots, Kelly’s serves up a hearty dose of landscape porn in its latest ad featuring rolling countryside, grazing dairy cows and a picturesque country home. Kelly’s is all about the family market after all promoting itself in this advert as the perfect mid-afternoon or post-dinner treat for families. Despite the diversification of ice cream occasions away from the dinner table and to the sofa, Kelly’s managed to secure growth with sales up 0.8% on volumes up 3.6% [IRI].

Ben & Jerry’s

You’d have to be one tough cookie to resist the oodles of temptations laid out in Ben & Jerry’s latest advert. But there is a serious side to this advert as Ben & Jerry’s is keen to promote its Fairtrade credentials and use of sustainably-sourced local dairy products. Something is working – the Cookie Core range is the second bestselling piece of NPD the ice cream category had to offer in 2015.

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