Ben & Jerry's wanted to find ways to authentically communicate their progressive values to new and existing consumers. They turned to Wattpad, a social network for readers and writers that's home to over 65 million monthly users, 90% of whom are Gen Z and Millennials.
Ben & Jerry's believes it can be a huge catalyst to stand up for justice in society and create change in the world. Its social mission and activism are key differentiators for the brand. However, in a world where the next generation of consumers is more skeptical of brands and competition in the ice cream market is heating up, it is increasingly difficult to drive relevance. The most relevant brands are those that connect with their fans around a shared set of values.
For this campaign, Ben & Jerry's Canada's primary marketing objectives among Gen Z and Millennials were:
1. Increased, positive brand sentiment
2. Increased awareness of the company's involvement in the LGBTQ+ community
3. Increased likelihood to purchase Ben & Jerry's in the Canadian market
The cause marketing campaign had the added objective of driving charitable donations through a collective community effort.
Knowing that stories are a powerful tool to shape perceptions and enact change, Wattpad was the perfect platform to encourage users to share their stories. Thus, the strategic idea for Pen Your Pride was born: a write-a-thon where the community was encouraged to think back on the times where they felt proud to be a member or an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and submit a story, real or fiction, during Pride month.
The campaign was based on several insights from the Wattpad community, including:
These insights demonstrated an opportunity to launch a campaign on Wattpad that would engage this often-underserved community.
To create additional social impact, Wattpad and Ben & Jerry's committed to donating $10,000 to this initiative. For every new story, $1 would be donated to the ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) to continue funding their activism work.
Focusing on leveraging the massive and engaged Wattpad audience to drive campaign engagement, Pen Your Pride was centered around the Wattpad platform, and amplified through off-platform marketing, including social media advertising and partner activation.
On-platform, tactics included:
Off-platform, tactics included:
Pen Your Pride became the first-ever branded write-a-thon launched on Wattpad and the first-ever write-a-thon targeting the LGBTQ+ community. It was also the first cause marketing campaign on Wattpad that leveraged user generated content from the community to raise charitable funds. Users were encouraged to tag their story with #WattPride, providing a way for each writer to feel empowered knowing that their story would contribute $1 to the cause, and help the community reach the collective goal of $10,000.
The creative approach was inspired by the desire to empower self-expression. By leveraging iconic LGBTQ+ symbols of self-expression that were brought to life through illustrated stickers and badges, the campaign combined Ben & Jerry's playful brand identity with a connection to the LGBTQ+ community. The Pride rainbow along with the iconic ice cream truck were a few defining features of the campaign to reflect the summer aesthetic.
The campaign was a huge hit, and received the highest number of submissions ever in a branded campaign on Wattpad. The total number of stories tagged #WattPride was 17,551, exceeding the goal by over 170%, and fulfilling the $10,000 donation to the ILGA.
In Canada, the campaign generated 911 submissions, becoming the most successful Canadian-branded initiative ever, exceeding the results of the previous record-holder by 321%. The campaign attracted 3.4M impressions in Canada. With a budget of $35,000, the impressions cost $0.01 each, demonstrating tremendous business value and ROI.
Globally, the campaign received 590,999 engagements (reads/votes/comments/entries/clicks ) on the platform, and social posts from Wattpad's channels drew 1,186,685 impressions and 45,452 engagements.
Finally, the brand lift study results showed that in the Canadian market, those exposed to campaign messaging (vs. a control group) experienced a:
From a social impact perspective, the results were twofold: