Tip Top and Colenso BBDO trumpet success of ice cream-based communication system, leave a few details out

UPDATE: Colenso BBDO sent through a new case study video showing some of the results of the Yes Sticks campaign. And it’s a fine example of the art of leaving things out. While there is a shot of the factory pumping out ice creams, and the voiceover mentions that 97 percent of the recipients said yes when they received their proposition, nowhere does it mention that of the thousands that submitted questions just 24 people actually had their question put on a stick. 

Tip Top also left a few details out earlier this year when it pulled a stunt for its new Trumpet where it pretended that one of its ice cream trucks had broken down, a story the Herald on Sunday covered (and MediaWatch questioned). 

Watch what happened when our Tip Top truck broke down.Thanks to everyone who helped rescue the melting Trumpets!

Posted by Tip Top Ice Cream on Saturday, March 21, 2015

And in terms of results, while this clever stunt—and the previous experiments as part of its science of feeling campaign—no doubt played a part in Tip Top charting the highest sales in its 80 year history and increasing sales and market share compared to the previous summer, it’s probably a pretty small part. Of much more significance was the fact that Tip Top made a major long-term investment to remove palm oil and synthetic ingredients from all its products and go all natural, which won it a TVNZ-NZ Marketing Award last year. Despite the risk of alienating consumers with new recipes, and despite the fact this meant it had to significantly reduce spend on new product development while it went through the process, the products were good, consumers responded positively to the sentiment and it put the brand in a very good place to increase sales. It was also bloody good ice cream eating weather over summer

20 January: Sticky situations: Tip Top continues its science of feeling summer campaign with ice cream-based communication system

Late last year, Tip Top and Colenso BBDO embraced pseudo-science for its summer campaign and designed a series of experiments to show the positive psychological effects of frozen dairy products. And, continuing that theme, it’s offering punters an opportunity to ask someone a question through the surprising medium of an ice cream stick. 

As it says on the Feel Tip Top Facebook app: “We reckon people who Feel Tip Top are more likely to say yes. So help us put it to the test and see what you could get a yes to.” 

Those who hope to send a message with Yes Sticks have 34 characters to ask their question. And a massive 24 winners will get their message printed on two ice-creams and delivered to the intended recipient. All those who enter also go into the draw to win a year’s supply of ice cream and ZM is also offering those who enter a few extra prizes. 

Last year Cadbury launched a campaign offering personalised boxes of Roses—and they charged handsomely for the privilege. So as mass customisation becomes more common, and as FMCG brands increasingly attempt to tap into the rise of premium, perhaps it’s a way for Tip Top to add value to the standard treat. 

The origin of the campaign came from research conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry in London, which showed one spoonful of ice cream could stimulate an immediate and positive effect on the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex. This means ice cream could make eaters feel better and this was reflected in how they treated others and how productive they were.

Colenso BBDO decided to put this theory to the test by conducting some uncontrolled and scientifically questionable experiments on unsuspecting Kiwis with the help of comedian Guy Montgomery. 

The first experiment took place in a real office, where the Tip Top research team found out if ice cream could make call centre employees more productive at work, while the second one tested the willingness of passersby to donate to a busker. It followed that up with an experiment in a movie theatre to see if those who had ice cream enjoyed the movie more than those who went without. 

As part of the campaign, Kiwis were able to apply for free ice cream grants to conduct experiments, such as finding out if dating went better or if their selfies were more popular after eating an ice cream. 

Montgomery has also taken to the streets and tried to improve the lives of passersby by handing out free ice creams (our favourites are ‘Thank You and ‘Jogger’). 

“We thought it would be great to prove that our ice cream is not only delicious but makes people respond to situations in a more positive frame of mind,” said Minna Reinikkala, group marketing manager of Tip Top, in a release. “We know that having a Jelly Tip during a meeting instantly lightens our mood in the office, so we wondered could it do the same in another environment”.


Executive Creative Director: Steve Cochran
Copy Writer: Oriel Davis-Lyons
Art Director: Beth O’Brien
Group Account Director: Richard Birkby
Planner: Sarah Oberman
Executive Producer: Tim Freeman 
Production Company: Sunday Punch
Post Production: Toybox
Audio: Liquid Studios
Group Marketing Manager Tip Top: Minna Reinikkala
Senior Brand Manager Tip Top: Natacha Clark 

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