Liberal amounts of ice cream used to promote political campaigns

by Feb 15, 2012 9:37 pm

Down the street from SJSU campus, Ben and Jerry’s gave out free ice cream to promote their campaign, “Get the Dough out of Politics,” on Feb. 14.

“We walked by and a girl told us 'free ice cream,'” said Shanique Flynn, a design studies major.

For an event that included free ice cream, the turnout was very low in the beginning.

A few students trickled in and out of Ben and Jerry’s, but no massive lines or crowds.

“I haven’t heard much about it other than walking by,” Trenton Hughes said.

Hughes, a business management major, said the event should have been advertised better if they wanted the campaign to be more effective.

The company wants to promote the idea that “there’s way too much money in American politics,” according to the campaign's website.

The website offers a chance for it’s viewers to sign a petition that encourages congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment.

The amendment would overturn “Citizens United,” a decision made in the U.S. Supreme Court, which allows corporations to spend limitless amounts of money in the political arena.

Jose Jimenez, an SJSU student and employee of Ben and Jerry’s, was working during the hours of the event.

“(The event) is promoted by Steven Colbert," Jimenez said. "Ben and Jerry’s is a pretty liberal franchise."

In 2007, political satirist Steven Colbert was granted with his own ice cream flavor: Americone Dream.

The flavor has vanilla ice cream with waffle pieces covered in fudge and caramel swirls and was given as the free scoop during Tuesday’s event.

“It was all kind of last minute," Jimenez said the day of the event. "We just found out (in the) morning."

He said he did not have much detail on the event either, except that it was to promote “Get the Dough Out.”

More publicity is also what Lauren Carter believed the campaign needed.

“For such a serious campaign you would think they would have taken advertising more seriously,” said Carter, a second-year pyshcology major.

Carter also went on to say that Ben and Jerry’s is not the best franchise to be promoting such a cause.

“Something like this would be better off promoted by McDonald’s or something," she said. "Just because Ben and Jerry’s is the type of franchise where anyone can open one.”

Ben and Jerry’s offers the opportunity for anyone to open up a “Scoop Shop,” according to the company's website.

Carter attributes the ineffective campaign to this franchise model.

Carter said, “I feel like because owners of the shops may not have as much responsibility to the bigger company and that may be why this campaign didn’t work out."

She said it was a good idea — just not executed to the best of its ability.

All customers that came in appeared happy with their free scoops of the Americone Dream, whether they understood the purpose behind it or not.

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