Instagram case study: Ben and Jerry’s Anchorman ice cream gets social boost

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Over an eight-day period in November, Ben and Jerry’s posted four sponsored images on Instagram featuring its ice cream in a carton, in a cone and even as a vision in the clouds. Ads were targeted to users age 18–35 in the U.S. This case study looks at how the Unilever brand become once of first advertisers on Instagrams new ad platform, boosting its brand awareness 17% in the process.


Instagram’s large audience ensured that the sponsored posts reached millions of people who visit the app regularly to be inspired by memorable imagery. By managing the frequency of the sponsored posts, Instagram ensured that users saw ads from Ben & Jerry’s only three times on average. Each creative was inserted in a user’s Instagram feed only once.

By reaching people on Instagram, Ben & Jerry’s aimed to drive awareness for its creative and fun-loving brand, and for its new Scotchy Scotch Scotch flavour, in a tie in with the movie Anchorman 2.

Using Instagram to spread the word about the joy its ice cream inspires, Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million users and saw a 33-point increase in ad recall. Of users who saw the ad for Scotchy Scotch Scotch ice cream, 17% not only became aware of the new flavour, they also associated it with Ben & Jerry’s.

Key results:

• Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million people in the U.S. over eight days, targeting people aged 18-35

• The marketers achieved a high impact with a very low average frequency of ad impressions per user

• There was a 32-point incremental lift in ad recall per campaign for people who were repeatedly exposed to a particular campaign versus control groups

• 17% of people who saw a single ad for Ben & Jerry’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch-flavored ice cream not only became aware of the new flavor, they also associated it with the brand

Commenting on the ads, Mike Hayes, Digital Marketing Manager, Ben & Jerry’s, said: “Since its launch, Instagram has provided us with an amazing platform to connect with our fans and tell our story visually. Ads on Instagram let us reach and engage with more fans about our flavors, fun and values.”

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