Haagen-Dazs: Repositioning a Cult Brand

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG145
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1990-2006
Organization : Haagen-Dazs
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : Worldwide
Industry : FMCG

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Communicating The Haagen-Dazs Brand

HCI was widely acknowledged to be the creator of the super-premium ice cream category. One of the reasons behind the brand's success was the company's emphasis on market research to understand the consumers' preferences, desires, and needs. While other ice cream manufacturers focused on children, HCI was among the first companies to create ice creams for the "adult ice cream lover." This positioning served it well because adults, unlike children, were financially independent and could make purchase decisions on their own. Also, despite complications involving language, packaging, labeling, and import regulations, the Haagen-Dazs brand was successfully marketed in different parts of the world largely because of the universal appeal of its communication...

No Compromise on Quality

HCI realized early that superior and consistent quality would ensure positive word-of-mouth publicity and help build the brand. Therefore, quality was given a lot of importance right from the inception of the brand.

Unlike ordinary ice creams, Haagen-Dazs ice creams used a high percentage of butterfat (of milk and cream) to create a richer, thicker consistency. Fresh cream and egg yolk were used to give the ice creams a rich creamy flavor and fresh skimmed milk was used for the body and texture of the ice cream. The ingredients came from exotic locations around the world -- the macadamia nuts were from Hawaii, the vanilla from Madagascar, and the chocolate from Belgium. The company claimed that it never used artificial flavorings or colors...

Advertising and Promotion

The Haagen-Dazs brand was first advertised on national television in 1981. Most print ads for Haagen-Dazs in the 1980s showed images of delicious-looking ice creams (See Exhibit VI for copies of 1980s ads).

After GMP took over HCI, the Haagen-Dazs brand came to symbolize desire, pleasure, and indulgence. GMP engaged the services of Bartle Bogle Hegarty to launch an ad campaign for Haagen-Dazs in 1989. The ad campaign, which showed images of couples enjoying Haagen-Dazs, caused quite a stir (See Exhibit VII for a copy of an early 1990s ad).

All through the early 1990s, Haagen-Dazs ads used the same theme and structure, with only minor variations in presentation depending on the country. The print ads were placed in publications like People, Vanity Fair, Esquire, EGG, Interview, etc. The campaign also included ads on radio and outdoor media, and in-store promotions...

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