July is National Ice Cream Month and the folks from Wells’ Dairy in Le Mars, Iowa, got into the spirit of it all by heading to the Times Square area in New York to promote their Blue Bunny Champ! ice cream cones and Aspen frozen yogurt bars.
From Tuesday through Thursday last week representatives from Blue Bunny and its agency, The Barkley Group, Kansas City, fanned out along 50th Street, Broadway and Seventh Avenue Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday passing out free ice cream samples of the Champ! cones and Aspen frozen yogurt bars.
The promotion tied into a Blue Bunny’s first-ever billboard in the upper Times Square area promoting the Champ! cone, which is a scoop of vanilla ice cream packed on a sugar cone, dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts.
The billboard features a carnivore-like creature’s upper and lower teeth in a menacing manner. The simple tag line beneath the image is “Champ Cones. Devour Them.” Upon closer inspection, all the teeth are ice cream cones. The upper “teeth” are cones in the usual form while the bottom “teeth” are the same cones inverted.
Blue Bunny distributed 50,000 of the Champ! cones samples while in New York.
Dave Smetter of the Wells’ Dairy marketing department says the weather was really cooperative and busy New Yorkers were not at all too busy to stop for a cool, free treat. Emphasis on the free, as Smetter noted well dressed businessmen carrying briefcases would take two or three and throw them in their briefcases. “I really wondered if they realized that was ice cream.”
Smetter says his throwing arm got a good workout out as their busy Midtown turf was chock-a-block full of double-decker tourist buses. Visitors to New York flock to the upper deck of these vehicles for sightseeing, and when they realized there was free ice cream available on the street level below, they challenged Blue Bunny’s demo team to oblige them--upper deck and all. “And we did,” says Smetter. “I did real well in tossing the samples to them. Got them all up there.”
The Blue Bunny team also got a taste of food retailing, New York-style. Some of the local mom-and-pop vendors smelled opportunity, so when there didn’t seem to any set limit on the number of free samples, these savvy businessmen took as many as they could and then put them in their own freezer cases, all marked up and ready to sell. Smetter didn’t reveal any details but he said they did manage to put a stop to that.
He also found some appreciative New York bus riders as he hopped on an uptown bus and spread the good word of ice cream via the free samples to the bus driver and some very thankful passengers.
TFFG SAYS: The Frozen Food Guy sat down with Dave Smetter from Blue Bunny and Kaylan Viveros from Barkley on Friday morning and they regaled him with tales of their three days spent on the busy streets of New York handing out free ice cream. The weather cooperated, as there was no rain, and thankfully for this “Bunny team” the heat and humidity had returned to more normal July temperatures after a relatively run of mild weather--perfect summer ice cream weather. TFFG was relieved to hear the cops didn’t hassle them, as Blue Bunny got all the various permits needed to “vend” on the city streets, so to speak. The total team of Blue Bunny distributors was about a dozen they said, and a van equipped for refrigeration purposes was used to handle the inventory. They were most impressed how friendly New Yorkers are but noted how they were at first a bit skeptical about what was going on. Yet once these city folk found out the ice cream samples were free--they were all for it!