Case study Häagen-Dazs

Kym Robinson

Comm 642

Case Study Summary

Häagen-Dazs and Honey Bees


In 1961 in the Bronx, New York, Häagen-Dazs was started by a Polish immigrant names Ruben Mattus and his wife Rose.   Mattus was to produce ice cream finest ingredients from all over the world (Fearn-Banks, 2011).   When Mattus came up with the name of his ice cream, Häagen-Dazs, it had no meaning.   It has come to be synonymous with the phrase ‘superstar of ice cream”. The word was made up capture a feeling of old world traditions, craftsmanship, natural ingredients, and quality production (Fearn-Banks, 2011). The company was sold to and is now owned by General Mills, Inc. and its trademark is licensed to Nestle and sublicensed to Dreyer’s (Fearn-Banks, 2011).


The problem that Häagen-Dazs faced was a decline in the honey bee population. The decline in honey bees began in the United States in 2006 when migratory beekeepers along the Atlantic seaboard states reports declines in their honey bee population. By 2007, a 30% decline in the bee population was reported by 35 states. Since honey bees pollinate an estimated $15 million worth of fruit, seed, and fiber crops each year in the United States alone, the shortage of bees would create a problem for Häagen-Dazs as well as many others.  As the bee population decreased, not only was the beekeeping industry endangered, but also large scale agriculture as a whole. The elimination of honey bees would be the biggest general threat to the food supply.

Situation Analysis


-Diane McIntyre, Senior Public Relations Manager for Dreyer’s in Oakland, California was considered a strength for the company.  She and her in-house assistant represented the Häagen-Dazs brand with its own in house public relations program and worked with a team from Ketchum Public Relations on the Haagen-Dazs account.

-Haagen-Dazs had a crisis management plan developed for all types of crises based on the earlier prodromes including the pistachio recall and peanut butter recall.

-Alter staff members from the brand’s advertising agency noticed an increasing number of blogs on Colony Collapse Disorder and reported this news.

-The company had the power and popularity of its ice cream as a strength.

-Other strengths included the Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees (HD Loves HB) research and campaign


-There was one large big weakness for Häagen-Dazs, the large reliance on the honey bee.  Ingredients in more than 40% of their all-natural flavors required honey bee pollination (Fearn-Banks, 2011)


-Häagen-Dazs had the opportunity to use the power and popularity of its established ice cream brand to get consumers attention and educate them the importance of the honey bee

– Häagen-Dazs had the opportunity to reinforce to its publics their commitment to using 100% all natural ingredients in it products

– Häagen-Dazs also educated the public about bees and the pivotal role they play in pollinating ingredients in more than 50 of Haagen-Dazs’ ice cream flavors and that these  honey bees are responsible for 1/3 of all foods pollination

– Katty Pien, Haagen-Dazs Brand Director also had the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture informing them of the impending crisis


-The threat to Haagen-Dazs was one its large reliance on the honey bee.


  1. The Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees (HD Loves HB) campaign was launched.
  2. The team conducted national and regional print, broadcast, radio, and online outreach; it was distributed to regional and national broadcast networks
  3. Three sets of goals were established: business, awareness/comprehension, and behavior.
    1. The business goals were to drive sales and to increase 2008 revenue growth by more than 1% over 2007.
    2.  The awareness/comprehension goals were the following: 1) to increase the awareness of the honey bee issue and the HD Loves HB campaign; 2) to increase consumer media impressions on the brand by 25% over 2007 levels with a total media goal of 156 million impressions in the first year of the campaign.
    3. The behavior goals were the following: 1) to convince consumers to plant bee-friendly habitats with a first year goal of planting 1 million bee-friendly flowers; 2) to drive unique visitors to the website, aiming for an average of 5 page views per visit; 3) to increase consumer recommendations of the Haagen-Dazs brand.
    4. Create an emotional connection between consumers and the brand and help make the bran more approachable
    5. Give consumers a compelling way to engage more genuinely and frequently with the brand by educating them about the honey bee plight.  Show the Haagen-Dazs brand’s concern and the brand’s authentic reliance on honey bees.
    6. Leverage first-mover advantage and become the first national consumer brand to support the issue and put the cause on consumers’ radar in a major way, strategically use the brand name to raise awareness and underscore the brand’s “all natural” brand essence by inextricably linking honey bees with Haagen-Dazs.
    7. Million Seeds Challenge was issued
    8. During national Pollinator Week, Haagen-Dazs and The Pollinator Partnership hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill about the plight of honey bees and a Haagen-Dazs brand-hosted ice cream social.
    9. Donation Towards Research

(Fearn-Banks, 2011)



  1. When consumers saw the Haagen-Dazs supporting the cause and educating people about the issue, they feet positive about the brand and its involvement
  2. Creating awareness about the issue made consumers feel that the brand truly cared and was not just interested in sales.
  3. 3) The cause helped consumers feel more connected to the brand; there is a sense of “we’re in it together.”
  4. The Bee Board was created.
  5. A Vanilla Honey bee flavor was launched.
  6. The company pledged to donate a percentage of overall sales of this flavor and all other bee-dependent flavors to go toward CCD research.
  7. The brand created a special logo that was features on all bee-dependent flavors and printed CCD information under the lid of every bee-dependent carton.
  8. The campaign exceeded expectations for a first-year.
  9. “HD Loves HB” revived consumer interest in Haagen-Dazs ice cream and increased sales.
  10. There was a 5.2% April sales increase – the largest single sales spike in a year for Haagen-Dazs
  11. There were more than 277 million media impressions, worth nearly $1.5 million in advertising equivalencies.
  12. The HD Loves HB story was featured or included in more than 1,097 unique news placements including CNN, Associated Press, NPR, Wall Street Journal, NBC’s The Today Show, The New York Times, Everyday With Rachael Ray.
  13. In a media audit and ROI analysis, 93% of all media coverage was overwhelmingly positive toward the brand; virtually 100% carried brand name/product mentions and key PR messages proving Haagen-Dazs dominated the cause.
  14. A strong 12-point increase in the level of PR and “buzz” was achieved over previous quarters.
  15. An omnibus survey conducted at the end of one year showed a large increase in honey bee awareness, knowledge and brand recall, and 8-point increase in awareness of the honey bee issue, and a 6-point increase in accurate identification of the issue.
  16. Haagen-Dazs had the highest unaided brand recall among consumers identifying companies/organizations working to help the honey bees.
  17. The team surpassed its goal for 1 million seeds to be distributed.  More than 1,200,000 bee-friendly flower seeds were distributed to community groups and individuals, including local businesses, garden clubs, and teachers.
  18. 469,798 unique visitors swarmed help, and engagement was high – visitors viewed 8 pages per visit (82% above industry average) and the number of new visits averaged 76% above industry standards.
  19. More than 950 consumers and organizations contacted the Haagen-Dazs brand with suggestions, offers to collaborate, requests for more info, and compliments on the program.
  20. Haagen-Dazs experienced a 13% inverse in its brand advocacy rating (between Q1 and Q2) to 69%, the highest in the category (exceeding Ben & Jerry’s)
  21. Haagen-Dazs  won several awards and for its proactive campaign

(Fearn-Banks, 2011)


Haagen-Dazs was proactive during the honey bee crisis. They used their established name to help avoid the crisis and make people of aware. They had a crisis plan and used it to avoid a crisis. I don’t feel Haagen-Dazs set out to make as much in profit as it did, but I do think they had a profit motive. They spent money on the awareness campaign, but they more than made their money back. They were even able to use the crisis to launch a new product. They made a positive impression on consumers and were rewarded with customer loyalty and higher profits. They were seen as an environmentally friendly company and not as a self serving corporate giant.

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2 Responses to Case study Häagen-Dazs

  1. lynnluig says:

    I agree that Haagen Dazs didn’t expect this campaign to return as much profits as it did. They did a great job at conducting a successful ad campaign that appeared to be a selfless act of environmentalism.

  2. djwindholz says:

    I also agree. They wanted to be socially responsible and be proactive towards the honey bee decline, and it was a win-win for them. They created a positive image while increasing profits!

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