Ice Cream Chains Scream For Market Share

For many Baby Boomers, Baskin-Robbins and its array of 31 flavors mean ice cream. But the children of boomers are looking for more.

Spoiled by ambience-heavy concepts such as Starbucks and Panera Bread, Generations X and Y are looking for more "experience" when it comes to ice cream. One example: the customized mix-ins available at Maggie Moo's, Cold Stone Creamery and other upscale ice creameries, where a fully loaded cone can cost upwards of $6.

Canton, Mass.-based Baskin Robbins, which operates about 5,400 ice cream stores nationwide, has seen its share of the $2.8 billion ice-cream market fall to 19.8 percent in 2005 from 20.9 percent in 2003, according to Euromonitor International, a market-research company.

Its strategies to win back customers include adding frozen custard and new flavors in addition to a new store look. The new exterior features an updated blue-and-pink "BR Baskin Robbins" logo. Inside are more seats, a separate topping counter festooned with a pink "crown," and a whimsical menu board.



Meanwhile, Cold Stone Creamery, the country's sixth-largest ice-cream chain with 1,400 stores, has named the New York office of Saatchi & Saatchi its new agency of record. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based chain said Saatchi & Saatchi will help it achieve its goal of becoming the country's best-selling ice-cream brand by Dec. 31, 2009.

The hiring of Saatchi & Saatchi signals a shift in marketing strategy, according to a Cold Stone spokesman. "We have been a brand that's grown up on word of mouth and public-relations strategy. Now it's more mass-media and advertising-driven," he said.

New creative, encompassing spot and national television, direct mail and print, will be unveiled next year. Cold Stone also plans on naming a national media-buying partner, the spokesman said.

Next story loading loading..