Cannes Lions

Going Glocal with Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day

PHD, Sydney / UNILEVER / 2017

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Past years may have reached the masses. But, not all reach is born equal. With the right targeting, messaging and timing we knew we could dramatically increase free scoops given out on the day.

It meant we needed to apply a strategy that either made it easier for people to get to the ice cream, or made them more inclined to eat it. The day itself couldn’t be any more free, or ice cream-y, so all our communications focused on bringing it to people’s doorsteps.

Our vision: to completely localise Free Cone Day.

We needed to make Australians feel like it was literally just around the corner.


To make Free Cone Day feel like it’s just around the corner we partnered with Spotify, in a media-first. We created a hyper targeted local marketing campaign, tapping into Spotify’s live-geo data, feed from 2.7 million devices.

Using virtual geo-fences, we created individual local marketing campaigns for all 26 Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Stores across Australia, dynamically serving ads based on a consumer’s location across the day.

So, no matter if you started your day shopping in Chatswood Sydney and later went for a surf at Bondi Beach you were always pointed in the direction of your local Scoop Store for delicious free ice cream.

For those less sporadic, we allowed people to save the date in their calendar with a single tap to their closest store via Facebook geo-ads.

On Free Cone Day, all advertising swapped to direct and excite, reflecting the buzz of being down on the ground.


Our strategy of localising Free Cone Day for each 26 Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Stores across Australia delivered a record breaking Free Cone Day. More scoops were given out than ever before in Australia, a total of 103,020 scoops, smashing the previous year’s results by 20%.

The previous year’s campaign was a $258,000 affair that reached nearly 5 million people. This year, our budget per store was halved, and fewer people were addressed but these were the right people, spoken to at the perfect time, with a message that drove real action.

Overall a total of 4,704,000 hungry ice cream lovers were reached. Spotify delivered engagement rates 3 times higher than the industry benchmark.

Ben & Jerry’s total brand felt the effect of our efforts too, with brand salience boosting itself by 28% and B&J’s penetration jumping by 16% in the period following. Now that’s worth a free cone!

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