Häagen-Dazs in March launched #ThatsDazs, a multichannel campaign that runs the gamut of a packaging redesign, TV advertising, digital, social, print, out-of-home and influencer elements. Notably, the campaign will also serve as a platform that supports a diverse group of creators via a $1.5 million pledge the brand will pay out over the next three years.
#ThatsDazs reimagines luxury for a new generation as the brand — like others in the packaged goods space — looks to hold onto gains made during the pandemic, when consumers embraced making meals and finding moments of joy at home. But it is also part of an industry-wide push to boost diverse creators in the ad world, both by brands and agencies.
"What's exciting about the transformation that we're making as a brand is [how we're] really reflecting a broad consumer base, whether they're new to our brand or have been with us forever, and being able to represent that in the work that we're doing," said Elizabell Marquez, CMO at Häagen-Dazs parent Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream.
Prior to joining Dreyer's in February 2020, Marquez spent 17 years in a variety of roles at Nestlé USA (Häagen-Dazs is marketed in the U.S. through a Nestlé joint venture). She spoke to Marketing Dive about the inspiration for the campaign, the brand's partnership with creative agency Cartwright and more.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
MARKETING DIVE: Can you explain the genesis of the new campaign and the larger brand repositioning?
ELIZABELL MARQUEZ: The inspiration for our new campaign came from two sides. One is looking at our founders, who were immigrants in the Bronx, and the work that they did to create Häagen-Dazs as a small luxury for many to enjoy. We were inspired by Reuben and Rose [Mattus] and their creativity and passion, and what they did 60 years ago. [The other side] is when we fast forward to today, we also had a realization that our brand, unfortunately, had not really evolved. The way we presented it felt like it was not with cultural trends, and certainly not reflecting consumer sentiments of today. So for us, our new positioning and transformation is a really great opportunity to redefine what luxury is with the same intention as our founders: of making this small luxury available to all, not just to a few.
How does the rebrand tie into the #ThatsDazs diversity push?
MARQUEZ: We think about Häagen-Dazs as a brand for all: young, old, super-inclusive, and as we think about this repositioning, it was a really great opportunity for us to reflect that diverse consumer base and everything we were doing. One of the pieces of that is the work that we're doing to really elevate underrepresented tastemakers and marginalized creators, and using the brand as a platform for them to help us redefine what luxury is.
How did the partnership with Lena Waithe come about, and what do you hope it will deliver moving forward?
MARQUEZ: We felt the work that Lena Waithe is doing is just incredible. Outside of her talent as an actor, she's doing so much work herself, especially through the Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab, where she's lifting other creators and giving a voice for folks that have not been part of the creative space for a long time. We thought the work she was doing in lifting those talents and the work that we aspired to do were really a great combination. We started with a $100,000 donation to the Hillman Grad Foundation. Also as part of the partnership, one of the actors in our commercial is one of the mentees from the lab, and we're looking to find other ways to integrate the mentees from her program into our work.
That's been an important part of our evolution: how do we, in every aspect of our work, think about elevating and giving a platform for up-and coming-creators? We go back to our founders of our brand, Polish Jewish immigrants in the Bronx, and we think that they probably knew what it was like to be marginalized and still realize their own dream. For us, it feels like this work that we're doing is a continuation of that, and really our opportunity to give a forum and to elevate people that maybe have not been represented well in the past.
"This is not just a statement of what we intend to do. It's also the actions we're taking."
CMO, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream
The part that I'm most proud of is that this is not just a statement of what we intend to do. It's also the actions we're taking, including the commitment over the next few years to donate $1.5 million, but also the way that we've been thinking about everything we're doing.
The photographer that did all of our prints and out-of-home, Tyrell Hampton, is another example of us providing a platform for young talent. The director that did our TV spot, Dexter Navy, is a young creator that was discovered via his Tumblr. We're also excited about working with [artist] Jade Purple Brown. There are many examples of other great creators that are putting their own spin on what luxury is to them, and you'll see more of that to come this year, as well as in 2022, across Instagram, out-of-home and print.
How did your agency partners help bring this campaign together?
MARQUEZ: We hired Cartwright as our new creative agency, and this was their idea. When we think about their approach to the creative, it's exactly what we had envisioned for this work and for this repositioning. They're the ones that have brought not just the idea to life, but helped us with identifying some of these incredible creators. The other partners that we have in this are The Door, a PR and influencer agency that has also been key, and Spark, our new media planning and buying agency that has been great about helping us think about how do we bring this message to life in different ways.
Cartwright is a relatively new agency, albeit one with WPP backing and led by an industry veteran. What made it the right fit for Häagen-Dazs?
MARQUEZ: We brought Cartwright on board in September 2020 as we were thinking about our new direction for the brand. We were looking for a partner to help us bring the brand to life and into several solutions for us. It's everything from the work that Keith [Cartwright] and the team have done to help other brands evolve, to Keith himself, who is quite an inspiring person — starting his own agency in an agency world that we know can be super competitive, and the work he's done has been fantastic.