360i's Cool Win: Ben & Jerry's Digital Account

Ben--Jerrys-AIce cream marketer Ben & Jerry’s, acquired by Unilever a few years back, has selected Dentsu’s 360i to serve as the brand’s strategic digital agency of record for its U.S. package and retail business, the companies confirmed Tuesday.

The selection puts 360i on the Unilever agency roster for the first time, a rep at the shop confirmed. The incumbent was PR shop Edelman, which will continue to handle some duties at B&J's in addition to other Unilever accounts.

B&J spent about $5.5 million on ads in the U.S. in 2012, according to Kantar. Of that, approximately $220,000 was digital display advertising. The company’s search expenditures for the period were not immediately available.

With the new assignment, the agency is tasked with overseeing B&J’s digital strategy and activation, social marketing and search marketing. The shop’s first effort for the brand will be to work on a campaign promoting the B&J’s “Scoop Trucks,” which serve ice cream on a tour of select U.S. cities throughout the spring and summer.

According to 360i’s blog, B&J selected the agency partly because it wants to develop better relationships with online fans and “push the envelope” in the digital space. “We look forward to extending our culture of curiosity to explore new ways of connecting Ben & Jerry’s with its passionate fans,” the agency stated on its blog.

Unilever executives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000 for more than $325 million. The ice cream maker has burnished an image as a quirky marketer with a social conscience.

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