The Icecreamists

launching the world's first breast milk ice cream

Brief from client:

Taylor Herring have been working with radical ice cream brand The Icecreamists since the company was at concept stage.

We successfully promoted their first pop-up installation at Selfridges and were then briefed to help them launch their first boutique store opening in Covent Garden in February 2011.

The Icecreamists’ mission is to turn the traditional ice cream parlour experience on its head by reinventing sorbets and gelatos with a unique twist. Their boutique menu includes chocolate volcanoes, absinthe sorbets and chilli vodka ice creams.

The interior design of the store follows a theme of experimentation with presentation involving syringes, flames and cryogenic cocktails made with liquid nitrogen.

From the start, the client made it clear that the store and menu launch needed to live outside of traditional London-based listings and food/drinks pages and garner mass media attention in print, online and broadcast media across the UK.The idea also had to reflect and highlight the individuality of the offering.

There was no additional marketing support for the launch and therefore, a completely PR-led idea was required to deliver a launch stunt - driving commercial interest in the brand and footfall into the restaurant during the opening week.

Strategy

Working closely with Icecreamists founder Matt O’Connor - we researched a number of themes that would resonate with the brand’s core target audience of upmarket urbanites.

We wanted a concept that would bring together recipe trends, innovation and pop culture - an idea that would walk into the news pages. We also looked at health and food.

The World Health Organisation website stated: “Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. A lack of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life contributes to over a million avoidable child deaths each year. Globally less than 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. Adequate breastfeeding support for mothers and families could save many young lives.”

We narrowed down the options with Matt and settled on the idea of producing the world’s first breast milk ice cream.

In keeping with the theme and the zeitgeist, we adopted the name ‘Baby Gaga’ for the product.

The idea would stand or fall on selecting the right donor.

Method deployed

We placed a £50 advert on the newsworthy social networking site Mumsnet to reach out to potential suppliers – within 24 hours, 15 mums had come forward to offer their services. All applications were scrutinised fully to ascertain that only credible donors were considered and an interview process with some of the applicants began.

We hired Victoria Hiley (mum of 1) from London. Victoria is a voluntary worker who assists women who have problems breast feeding their babies and she educates new mums on the health benefits of natural feeding. She loved the idea. In addition to providing milk, Victoria agreed to make herself available for media interviews.

Once thorough health checks had been completed, via a leading Harley Street clinic, she donated 30 fluid ounces and the first batch was produced.

The ‘Baby Gaga’ recipe blends breast milk with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest, which is then freshly churned into ice cream.  To add excitement to the uniqueness of the product, waitresses would serve the ice cream in martini glasses direct to the table and mix it with liquid nitrogen. Their striking outfits were designed by a London-based fashion student to keep overall campaign costs to a minimum.

Furthermore, we had anticipated that there would be a visit from Westminster Council officials as there were no precedent Food Standards guidelines for using human breast milk in food products. We pre-prepared various lines against such an enquiry and were confident that the product would meet health and safety standards following the initial health checks undertaken.

A photo shoot was then commissioned that would include product shots, interiors and exteriors of the restaurant as well as portraits of Victoria and Matt O’Connor. In addition to this we gathered b-roll video footage of on-the street taste tests and interviews with the various spokespeople.

We released our pictures and a news release to all national outlets and announced that the first tasting would be in 3 days time - which gave a natural second leg to the story. Over 50 media tasted the product.

Responding to 2 complaints from the public - Westminster Council took the product off-sale for 5 days generating further headlines and intrigue. However all their tests revealed no problems and the product went back on sale with their blessing – yielding more coverage.

Lady Gaga’s people complained and the story picked up bonus interest from showbiz media.

Outcome, including formal evaluation of results:

Coverage achieved:

8 TV pieces - including ITV’s Daybreak, London Tonight, BBC Breakfast, BBC London, BBC News at 6

23 radio interviews - including Capital FM, XFM, Radio 5 Live Drivetime, Magic FM, Absolute, BBC London, BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine, Choice FM

22 print articles including The Sun, Metro, Evening Standard, Independent, Guardian, Daily Star, Daily Mirror, Independent on Sunday, Daily Record, OK!, Time Out and Zoo

1167 online pieces – including Daily Mail, BBC, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Metro, Evening Standard plus international news wires Reuters, AP and AFP.

It was the 5th most popular story on the entire BBC News website, for 7 days during launch week

The story trended on Twitter, globally, for 2 days

Although the Baby Gaga product sold out within just 2 hours of going on sale (“It tastes fantastic”The Evening Standard), the outlet was overwhelmed with curious customers who were enjoying their menu of 20 other radical new flavours.

Sales at the restaurant in the first 2 weeks were 500% above client forecasts.

The media coverage has subsequently generated huge interest in the brand attracting new financial investors and international franchise interest.

It also fast-tracked the opening of a major new Icecreamists restaurant on the main Covent Garden piazza.