Reuben Mattus worked in his mother’s ice cream business in the 1920s in Bronx, New York. The family business prospered and in 1960 Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Mattus decided to form a new company dedication to his passion for quality and vision for creating the finest ice cream. He called his new brand Häagen-Dazs to convey an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship. By 1973 Häagen-Dazs products were enjoyed by customers throughout the US. In 1983 Mr. Mattus decided to sell his company to The Pillsbury Company. It is now available in 50 countries, but the same careful attention to quality that Reuben Mattus built into every Häagen-Dazs product, remains today.
The honeybee is vanishing. The decline began in the US in 2006 when approximately one third of hives disappeared. The rate of decline continues and reached 36 percent in the winter of 2007. This crisis in also widespread; it is happening worldwide. Scientists think there are a number of reasons for the decline, such as loss of habitat, pesticides, viruses and parasites. People have relied on bees over thousands of years for successful farming. Bees simply are the best pollinators in the world. About a third of human food requires pollination and plants simply cannot grow without it.
Even though the honeybee crisis hasn’t affected Häagen-Dazs ice cream, the company still chose to join the fight to help restore the honeybee colonies. This is being extremely socially responsible because they know the world wouldn’t be the same place without honeybees. Ingredients in more then 40% of their flavors require honeybee pollination. Häagen-Dazs saw an opportunity to use the power and popularity of its ice cream to educate consumers on the importance of honeybees. In my opinion, Häagen-Dazs doesn’t have any weaknesses regarding this crisis. They are doing something they wouldn’t have to do in order to increase awareness about this crisis.
Strategies (decisions and behaviors)
– In 2007 Häagen-Dazs realized the honeybee crisis was a real risk to US agriculture, so they decided to join the fight to help restore the honeybee colonies.
– In 2008 Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees (HD Loves HB) was launched. The goals of this campaign were to increase awareness of the honeybee crisis, increase consumer media impressions on the brand, to convince consumers to plant bee-friendly habitats, and to drive unique visitors to the website helpthehoneybees.com – all while trying to drive sales and increase revenue growth.
– Häagen-Dazs donated $250,000 to Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Davis for sustainable pollination and CCD research. They also made a $10,000 donation to The Pollinator Partnership.
– Häagen-Dazs created an advisory board of scientists to guide the brand and ensure that communication was authentic and factual.
– Häagen-Dazs launched a new bee-dependent flavor, Vanilla Honey Bee. Häagen-Dazs pledged to donate a percentage of overall sales of this flavor and all other bee-dependent flavors to go toward CCD research. They also created a special logo that was featured on all bee-dependent flavors and printed CCD information under the lid carton. They now have 10 bee-dependent flavors listed on their website.
– A comprehensive media strategy was created to expedite mass awareness. Häagen-Dazs understood the importance of education and expanded media targets beyond the usual food and lifestyle outlets. They included areas such as scientific, agricultural, environmental, gardening, etc. They also conducted national and regional print, broadcast, radio and online outreach.
– Häagen-Dazs’ employees also take part to increase awareness. They have held events such as Scooper Bowl XXVI and Honey Bees Hitch a Ride.
– Häagen-Dazs also has a Bee Store on helpthehoneybees.com. Profits from the merchandise goes towards research.
– HD Loves HB revived consumer interest in Häagen-Dazs and spiked sales.
– There was a 5.2% April 2008 sales increase – the largest single sales spike in a year.
– There were more than 277 million media impressions, worth nearly $1.5 million in advertising.
– The HD loves HB story was featured in more than 1,097 unique news placements.
– 93% of all media coverage was overwhelmingly positive of the brand.
– There was a 12-point increase in the level of PR and “buzz”.
– After the first year, there was a large increase in honeybee awareness, an increase in awareness of the honeybee issue, and an increase in accurate identification of the issue.
– Häagen-Dazs exceeded its goal for 1 million seeds to be distributed. Over 1,200,000 bee-friendly flower seeds were distrusted to community groups and individuals.
– 469,798 unique visitors went to helpthehonebees.com and engagement was high – Visitors viewed more than 8 pages per visit.
– More than 950 consumers and organizations contacted Häagen-Dazs with suggestions, offers to collaborate, requests for more information, and compliments on the program.
– Häagen-Dazs received a 13% increase in its brand advocacy rating.
– The campaign won the 2009 gold Clip Award in the PR Consumer Category, a gold Cannes Lion for Corporate Responsibility and Environmental Issues, a Silver Anvil for Reputation Brand Management, and a 2009 Silver SABRE Award in the Food and Beverage Category. It also won the 2009 PR Week award for Cause-Related Campaign of the Year and honorable mention for Campaign of the Year.
It’s great to hear about a company doing good when they wouldn’t necessarily have to. It’s one thing to be socially responsible when a mistake has been made and you are trying to fix what happened. However, Häagen-Dazs chose to go above and beyond and create a positive impact, even though the crisis hasn’t had a direct affect on their company. Many other organizations should take notes on what Häagen-Dazs has done and try to become more socially responsible. They should be concerned about issues besides profit alone.