Monday, August 6, 2012

The Ice Cream Marketing Wars

Unilever's Magnum brand has become a $1.24 billion blockbuster because rich-tasting premium ice cream novelties are back and they're, well, hot. Magnum's Facebook page has more than 4 million likes. The brand was founded in 1989 but Unilever has been taking it global market by market, with very good results.

Until recently, the star of the ice-cream freezer case was the 100-calorie treat, which consumers could enjoy without blowing the entire day's calorie or fat budget. Skinny Cow, founded in 1994 by Nestle, is fighting back against high-cal competitors with new low-fat, high-taste products and unusual promotions like the Dirty Dancing movie tie-in above. Its Facebook page has 564,000 likes and the supermarket freezer case has many facings of Skinny Cow treats, I know from personal observation.

Still, super-premium ice cream treats seem to be today's trend. Graeter's, the Cincinnati-based independent with a growing presence in supermarkets coast to coast, offers ice cream pints in flavors that are fresh and luscious. Toffee Chip, vanilla with gigantic choco chips and Heath chips, is only one of Graeter's fantastic flavors. And Graeter's offers to ship anywhere in the continental US for the enjoyment of consumers whose local markets don't have the brand. Let the ice cream marketing wars continue!

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