The year 2020 has sent the world into a state of unrest, and June has proved that things aren’t slowing down. There has been a rise of support for Black Lives Matter, an organized movement formed in 2013 in response to incidents of police brutality against Black people. Many brands have voiced their support for Black Lives Matter on social media, from posting plain black boxes to creating relevant lists on how to support Black people in specific industries. Out of these brands, Ben & Jerry’s has been loud and clear with its advocacy, and it has no plans to remain silent.
The Website Says It All
A quick visit to Ben & Jerry’s website would give one the impression that these guys are serious about social issues. It’s not just pictures of ice cream flavors that greet you, but a dashboard of blog posts and news stories such as “Silence is NOT an Option” and “Defund the Police and Invest in Our Communities”. The range of articles available on their website is as wide as their range of ice cream flavors. There are articles about climate change, the educational system, and history, which surprisingly blend well with their more ice cream-centric posts such as “6 Ways to Get Creative With Your Empty Pints”. It’s a testament to how committed the brand is to raise awareness and give a spotlight to important matters.
“Issues We Care About” page
Most, if not, all brands have a Mission and Vision page on their website. Ben & Jerry’s makes sure its fans know that standing up for issues is part of its business model. Hovering over their website’s “Values” tab will lead to four sub-categories, one of which is “Issues We Care About”. It’s a single-page where relevant topics such as racial justice, LGBT equality, fair trade, and peace-building are listed. These are further discussed in articles that can be accessed with a click.
Loud On Instagram
Ben & Jerry’s does not opt to stay silent. While most brands have already gone back to their regular social media programming after Blackout Tuesday (which took place on June 2), Ben & Jerry’s hasn’t stopped posting about relevant issues. In fact, it has been actively showing support and raising awareness through informative videos and images on their Instagram page even before the social media platform went black. On March 3rd of this year, Ben & Jerry’s posted a video about the importance of voting in local races for prosecutors. Numerous posts reminding people to vote are found on their page. The brand also talks about the environment, such as Earth Day and climate change. Recently, they posted a striking illustration: an ice cream scoop with the words “Defund the Police”. A huge bowl of ice cream labeled “US Police Budget - $115B” can be seen along with smaller bowls, which all have labels like affordable housing, job training, education, mental health counseling, and substance abuse treatment. The brand has been outspoken in its support for social issues, and sure enough, I assume it will continue in the next coming months.
Taking It To A Higher Level: An In-house Activism Manager
These efforts are all possible thanks to the help and guidance of Ben & Jerry’s head of global activism strategy, Chris Miller, who is championing the causes that are important to the company. Miller is no newbie at this work. He was the climate campaign director at Greenpeace until 2008. Chris says: “I have the best job in the world. I have access to the types of talent and resources that most organizations dream of. Our people are world-class, and we have ice cream, a great tool to engage communities with. We’re in a unique position to advocate for change.“
Social Mission Flavors
Ben & Jerry’s has always made sure to spread its mission through their sweet brand. Not only does it have fun stuff such as Netflix & Chilll'd, but it also has Flavors On a Mission, a batch of ice cream flavors that are launched in support of causes, campaigns, and foundations. In 2015, it launched Save Our Swirled, which encouraged 300,000 ice cream fans to join the global climate movement. The brand has also been involved in Poor People’s Campaign by donating a portion of the proceeds from One Sweet World, a flavor that’s full of coffee caramel ice cream, fudge chunks, and swirls of marshmallow, and salted caramel.
With the internet making connection and expression much easier, brands are now expected to use their platform to help relevant issues be heard and discussed. Ben & Jerry’s understands that it has a huge platform, and it should not be wasted in silence.
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Social Media Manager/Contributing Writer
Kayce Tiongson is an English teacher and writer from the Philippines. She has written articles ranging from TV show reviews, pop culture features to church events since the early 2000’s. Her love for writing has grown from the very moment she could write her name in cursive. She is currently working on her novel with a cup of tea always present on her desk and creative ideas visiting her without breaks.
If You Could Do So, How Would You Change The World?
If I could change the world, I would like to be a superhero who can erase every invention that is actually bad for the planet. As for my superhero name, I'm still thinking about it. 😀
How do you feel about putting pineapple on pizza?
It's fine but I'm not a big fan of it. I usually have a bite but later on find myself removing some pineapples. 😀
Schnitzel or Tonkatsu? and why?
Tonkatsu! I love those katsu sets at Japanese restaurants. I also enjoy having my little bowl of sesame seeds and mixing them with the tonkatsu sauce. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. Haha!