Haagen Dazs Case Study


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.


Situation Analysis

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.


Consequences (results)

–       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.


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4 Responses to Haagen Dazs Case Study

  1. karobinson5 says:

    Häagen-Dazs was proactive in the decline of the honeybee. They were aware that the vanishing of the bee would not only disrupt a large portion of the world’s food supply, but also a large portion of their products. The company chose to be proactive and begin the honeybee campaign before this could happen. Häagen-Dazs saw an opportunity to use their popularity to bring attention to the possibilty of a vanishing bee population. I feel that the vanishing honeybee was a weakness for Häagen-Dazs and the loss of the bee population as a threat to 40% of its products. This campaign did increase their image and sales as well as awareness about the vanishing honeybee. I think the company & the honeybee benefitted from proactive crisis management.

  2. l992 says:

    I agree with the comments in the paper, and karobinson5’s comment. Haagen-Dazs more of less sensed a crisis coming towards their company and they have tried their best to prevent it. Even if the honeybee crisis cannot be “fixed” at least Haagen-Dazs has made themselves a good name, and the general public will still recognize them for their support.

  3. danceadams says:

    I must profess to be in disagreement with the popular opinion concerning this case. I feel that the self serving nature of the advertisement campaign had little effect on quelling the honey bee decline.

  4. djwindholz says:

    Maybe their efforts haven’t had a great effect on the honey decline yet, but they are at least being socially responsible and trying to do the right thing in order to prevent a crisis. Creating a positive image is important, so of course organizations are hoping to do good for themselves while doing good for others at the same time. It’s not like the just created new flavors and said they were in supportive of the cause, but they also donated money for research.

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