Ben & Jerry’s Social Media Site Falls a Little Flat

Just about everyone has a favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor. (Chocolate Fudge Brownie for me!) And, the brand has been involved in global and environmental concerns long before it was trendy.

So, it’s no surprise the ice cream gurus have now launched a social media site called Imagine Whirled Peace The site is connected to both a new flavor and Peace Day on September 21st, an annual event organized by non-profit Peace One Day, which is marked by the member states of the United Nations with an official day of “global ceasefire and non-violence.”

According to Marketing Daily, the brand secured rights from John Lennon’s estate to use his name on the new flavor. And, in honor of Lennon and Ono’s famous Bed-In for Peace, B&J promoted the site launch with its own peace-themed bed-in, held in New York City’s Times Square. Leaders who promote peace through community-based and other efforts, were the “bed-sitters” during that promotion, which garnered favorable Gotham press.

The peace site allows fans of the brand to upload their “messages of peace” including photos and images which will contribute to a large mosaic of a peace symbol. (The mosaic was developed by the social media developer, Vitrue). The campaign will include signage highlighting the new flavor and the site in their franchise operations throughout the month of August.

Social Media Minus The Social

While, I applaud the brand’s continued environmental and global efforts; from reducing their eco-print to Fair Trade certification and non-profit franchise job training, I gotta say this site falls a little flat for me.

The mosaic is cool to be sure; it’s fun to see all the photos and the messages range from goofy to touching. But, this is supposed to be a social site. Where is the social part? Where is the community? Where is the active participation? In essence, it’s nothing more than a fancy bulletin board. It seems to me B&J could have created the kind of social community where brand-fans share information about global events, environmental trends, activities of cultural unity. This site could be a means to develop real world gatherings, protests, community actions. Instead, it’s just a sort of Flickr focused on one topic.

I’m sure B&J will continue to receive many messages and images; I just wish they had seized the opportunity to create something a bit larger and more inclusive; something that truly fostered direct conversation and community.

So far only 1,000 people have submitted their photos and messages. I’d love to see their numbers grow because I personally support this brand. But, I’m afraid without more to do on the site, there just isn’t much of a draw.

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