Founded in the US in 1945, Baskin-Robbins is the world’s largest chain of ice-cream specialty stores, boasting 8,000 retail shops in nearly 60 countries. Known worldwide for the variety of its flavour range (hence its famous ‘31 Flavours’ tagline), Baskin-Robbins creates and markets premium hard scoop ice-cream, custom ice-cream cakes and beverages; the ice cream itself is manufactured in Massachusetts, USA, and exported to franchisors around the world. Despite the brand being a global industry leader with over 70 years’ heritage, Baskin Robbins Australia has enjoyed mixed fortunes over its almost 30 year history.
Baskin-Robbins Australia has successfully overcome a number of major internal challenges over the last decade and, despite increased competition in the ice cream sector, is entering 2020 in a strong position. Finding a way to appeal to the target consumer for this campaign was a central challenge and one which shaped Marketing’s overall thinking and strategy. Marketing has spent the last two years repositioning Baskin-Robbins for the domestic market, working with a new creative agency to roll out a more playful, whimsical look and feel for the brand designed to appeal to its core family demographic. A greater emphasis on innovation and new product development has been central to the brand’s new strategy as it defends its market share against new entrants. At the heart of the creative challenge was finding a way to balance the Baskin-Robbins brand with the Stranger Things brand and appeal to a new category of consumers without alienating the existing customer base. Baskin-Robbins Australia’s core segment of young families and children was not a natural fit with a sci-fi horror series aimed at teens and young adults. As such, an edgier, more youth-orientated approach was required and would need to be applied across product range, creative and media channel selection. Working with a major brand like Netflix was a new experience for Baskin-Robbins Australia and required both significant planning and a high level of communication and transparency. From the very start, Marketing worked closely with the Netflix legal and marketing departments to ensure they were satisfied with the approach and how the Netflix and Stranger Things brands were being positioned. The media strategy involved developing dedicated partnerships with select media outlets/ like-minded brands in order to directly target their Gen Z/Gen Y fanbases and readerships. In addition, Marketing engaged a PR agency to drive campaign awareness and product trial through both traditional PR techniques and via a dedicated digital influencer strategy. The winter of 2019 saw a significant uplift in comping sales year-on-year of 9.4% In addition, Baskin-Robbins Australia’s home delivery channel saw an increase of 22.6% during the three month campaign period. The campaign helped the brand successfully increase its share of the 13-24 year old age group; prior to launch this group made up just 29% of Baskin-Robbins’ Instagram fanbase, while post-launch it had jumped to 45%.