Häagen-Dazs is no longer the ice-cream brand its fans have known across the globe for nearly six decades.
The ice-cream maker, owned by the consumer goods giant General Mills, has rolled out the biggest brand overhaul in its 56-year history, complete with fresh packaging, a brand-new logo, plans to revamp its 800-plus global stores and a global advertising campaign.
The Häagen-makeover kicked off in the U.K. this May, and will be rolled out across the world except for the U.S. by summer 2018.
The move was prompted by the marketer’s recognised need to stay relevant for a millennial audience that prefers to engage with brands that share their values and have strong and relatable stories, said Jennifer Jorgensen, Häagen-Dazs’ vice president and marketing director.
Basically, Häagen-Dazs’ premium positioning gave consumers the perception that is was stuffy and classic, not modern and vibrant.
“The world of luxury is changing. It isn’t as much about conspicuous consumption anymore, it’s more about craftsmanship, authenticity and the story behind the brand,” she told Business Insider. “The brand just wasn’t representing what consumers wanted it to be anymore. We knew we needed to modernise.”
Manchester-based design firm Love Creative led the Häagen-Dazs visual rebrand, including a new logo now set in burgundy rather than gold, black and white. The refresh includes updated packaging, which has been designed by more than a dozen up-and-coming artists from around the world, including Finnish artists Santtu Mustonen and Kustaa Saksi.
Each artist was asked to illustrate different Häagen-Dazs recipes using their own styles after tasting all 46 of the brand’s flavours, and were also given mood and word boards to help guide them. The resulting packaging for the different flavours is not just bright and colourful, but also perfectly Instagrammable — something that millennial consumers actually demanded, according to Jorgensen.
On the advertising front, Häagen-Dazs’ global campaign includes six different spots which aim to bring to life the tagline “Make everyday extraordinary,” highlighting people celebrate the everyday through ice-cream. In conjunction to the ads, the brand is also posting its own images to its social media accounts and buying digital ads across Facebook and Instagram in different markets the world over. The campaign was developed by Saatchi & Saatchi London.
“Digital media is a key piece of reaching millennials today, and something we’re paying more attention to than before,” said Jorgensen, declining to give specifics on the brand’s digital spend. “Our non-traditional media investments have grown tremendously.”
To further appeal to millennial sentiments, the marketer is also ramping up its creative, on both traditional and digital channels. Häagen-Dazs’ messaging moving forward will focus on highlighting its heritage, such as founder Reuben Mattus’ founding story, to connect with its audience.
It will also spotlight its ingredients, which are all-natural and have no preservatives, artificial emulsifiers or stabilizers — a smart move considering that consumers are more likely to buy desserts that are real and made from scratch than those that aren’t, according to Technomic’s most recent report on desserts.
The global ice cream market is expected to reach $US89 billion by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 4.8%, according to a recent report by Mordor Intelligence. Häagen-Dazs’ sales too have continued to grow, totalling $US64 billion last year, according to the researcher. But to remain on un upward trajectory, Häagen-Dazs knows that it has to innovate.
To ensure it continues to grow, Häagen-Dazs is continuing to develop and introduce new flavours as well as categories, keeping in mind consumer preferences. The company trails behind Unilever in the ice-cream market globally because of its Magnum bars, and only introduced its stick bar range last year. But it is moving at a faster clip, having rolled out mini stick bars earlier this year. It has also launched new flavours, such as Mochi in Asia, and will continue to expand in newer countries.
Still, not everyone is convinced. Rebrands are always tricky, said Andrea Katz, founder at Ideon, a branding consultancy based out of New York City. And brand risk losing some authenticity when they revamp themselves.
“Häagen-Dazs has always been about indulgence, but the new packaging is a departure and feels a bit more like candy,” she said. “Häagen-Dazs’ rebranding is different and unique, and could help the brand stand out in the crowd, but seems to lose some of the authenticity and heritage so loved by many loyalists.”
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