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If it’s not fun, why do it?

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Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day (FCD) is the day thousands of ice cream cones are given away FOR FREE from multiple stores all over Australia.

Everyone loves free stuff, especially free ice cream, but as more and more brands activate with events it has become harder to keep crowds growing.

For most, FCD is about that moment you receive your scoop and the first lick. But all that effort of finding a B&J store, joining the line and then receiving your scoop was limiting the growth of FCD.

It needed to show people B&J FCD is bigger than the scoops alone. It’s a full-blown experience.

To effectively bring the idea of B&J FCD experience to life agency PHD needed to understand:

1. Who is most likely to be available to attend?
2. What drives people to FCD beyond the ice cream that it can leverage?

Targeting the right attendees became crucial.

Everyone loves free ice cream but CCTV footage uncovered that groups of students were the perfect attendees; not only do they love a freebie but they also have free time between or after classes.

Through analysing past years social engagement, PHD discovered that people didn’t care as much about which ice cream they were getting but instead who they were enjoying it with.

The key insight to drawing in these ice cream loving students was to make the experience of joining the line with your friends appear as fun and enjoyable as the ice cream itself. 


The agency’s strategy was to turn the whole experience into an event by creating FOMO (fear of missing out) around the whole process of collecting free ice cream… even the queue.

One thing that Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day hero’s is fun in all elements. From loud music to people dancing in cow costumes, once your down at a Ben & Jerry’s scoop store it’s hard not to smile.

It needed to dramatise this feeling on Free Cone Day and give people a reason other than the ice cream to visit a Ben and Jerrys store.

It had to target students with actual live footage of people enjoying their time at the Ben and Jerrys store happening nearby to create the FOMO needed for them to come and join in the fun.

The aim was to trigger spontaneous attendance of groups of students across the country.


To create this experience for those not down at FCD yet the agency formed a three-way partnership to create a real time social lead content campaign.

1. Content: Partnering with three of Pedestrian.TV’s most hilarious content creators hosts from three of the biggest B&J stores in NSW, QLD and VIC. No scripts necessary. Their role was to entertain the crowd, show off the fun of FCD.

2. Contextual Amplification: In a market first, the agency overtook university screens positioned in bars, study halls and lunch areas with our Facebook live stream showing the Pedestrian hosts entertaining the crowds. Their role was to reach groups of friends and spark spontaneity to attend.

3. Social Amplification: PHD partnered with Facebook on a beta product called Facebook Live Accelerator, allowing it to broadcast the content to over 600k ice cream lovers in the area in 60 minutes. Their role was to rapidly reach young people in the area who were checking Facebook that day, so ever young person basically.

On an idle Tuesday afternoon it sparked a whole new way of seeing Free Cone Day. Pedestrian.TV hosts worked the queues with zany competitions and ice-cream-related games.

In a live broadcast like no one anticipated, there was squeals of laughter as some got ice cream coated, others cheered as tubs of free ice cream flowed down queues. One lucky man drove for 45minutes to win a car-full of ice cream after seeing it on Facebook.

It was unmissable and completely irresistible to attend. Check out the video here:


Despite a major store closing in Melbourne in 2017, Ben & Jerry’s broke the Australian record for the most cones given out on FCD – at a whopping 106,580 scoops compared to 103,000 scoops in 2016.

It smashed its live broadcast projection by more than 50% reaching 600,000 consumers via the live post alone.

The campaign successfully ignited the FOMO feeling among more ice cream lovers than it could have imagined, which was confirmed when the Ben & Jerry’s Live Streams trended on Facebook with 1,000s of people mentioning and talking about the day.

It made the day not just about free ice cream but instead made the whole thing about fun, just like Ben & Jerry say, “If it’s not fun, why do it?”

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Ben and Jerrys
Brand Owner:
March - April 2017
Media Channel:
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