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Jul 12, 2017 • By

A Häagen-Dazs renaissance

At our annual Investor Day at the New York Stock Exchange today, Häagen-Dazs made a big splash on “Experience Square” on Wall Street,  debuting an entirely new brand experience.

The global refresh encompasses everything from packaging to advertising to the shop experience and reflects Häagen-Dazs’ status as a leader in super-premium ice cream and more broadly, an international lifestyle icon.

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The setup in “Experience Square,” outside the New York Stock Exchange, for our annual Investor Day on July 12, 2017.

The Häagen-Dazs mission? Make every day extraordinary.

So why a branding refresh, and why now?

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We talked about it with Jennifer Jorgensen, vice president and marketing director of Häagen-Dazs, based in the UK.

Jennifer talked about the brand’s need to stay relevant, especially for today’s millennial consumers who are looking for brands that share their values and that have a deep, relatable story.

“Globally, before we did this brand refresh, consumers universally would say ‘We love Häagen-Dazs, we love the product, but could you please change the packaging?’” says Jennifer. “Consumers wanted to stay with us because we are on trend … …with the simple, real ingredients and high indulgence. But it’s just the branding side of it that they felt didn’t represent them.”

Colorful, worldly, and fun, the Häagen-Dazs brand refresh includes updated packaging designed by more than a dozen up-and-coming artists.

And the design process was wholly original.

Each international artist was asked to illustrate specific Häagen-Dazs recipes using their own abstract styles, descriptive phrases from the brand team, and the physical look and taste of the ice cream ingredients. It was a study in bringing a full flavor experience – the textures, colors and sensations of Mango Raspberry and Macadamia Nut Brittle, for example – to life.

Here’s a sampling of the beautiful new package designs from artists around the world:

Jennifer explained how important ‘Instagrammable’ external aesthetics are to many millennials, and how that has evolved in recent years. (In May, We highlighted an event the brand created in London, in May, that focused on creating an Instagram experience).

In addition, she says perceptions of modern luxury have shifted from material diamonds and glitter to the brand’s more attainable luxury of experience, authenticity and craftsmanship.

These trends translated to the new packaging designs. Jennifer talks about that, and how the team worked with artists to bring to life extraordinary moments with Häagen-Dazs.

I also talked to one of the artists, Bob Sanderson.

Using the process of making flavor experiences two dimensional with descriptive phrases, he built his most complex design, Chocolate Salted Caramel, from words like, “sticky splotches of gooey caramel waiting to be discovered,” and “a tease of enticing salt,” as well as “an all-consuming quicksand of fudgy ganache.”

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But he also broke down the physical qualities.

“We looked closely at caramel in many forms, how the shards came out, and for Mango Raspberry, how the juice and skin came out of mangoes,” Sanderson says.

For him, creating the visual flavor was like creating an entire ‘identity language’ which can be sliced and diced to suit different audiences.

Since its debut on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, decades ago, Häagen-Dazs has become a global icon for luxury ice cream. People in 90 countries consume 744 million scoops each year.

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Häagen-Dazs popularized the super-premium ice cream category in the 1960s.

Check out this video, which illustrates the brand’s journey to global fame:

“We wouldn’t be successful without the history of the brand,” says Olivier Faujour, vice president and president of the General Mills dairy strategic brand unit, which includes the international Häagen-Dazs business. “Häagen-Dazs was created with the powerful vision that food should be simple, natural and made from high-quality ingredients. That brand equity has allowed us to innovate – and stay fresh and contemporary with marketing – while forever paying tribute to our roots.”

Product innovation is the other aspect driving the brand’s continued success outside North America.

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“Impulse” ice cream is the largest and fastest-growing segment of the category worldwide. Häagen-Dazs is the forefront of this segment with its on-the-go treats such as ice cream stick bars and the new mini stick bars.

Hear Jennifer explain the impulse ice cream segment and why it’s growing.

“Consumers are no longer pacing out their eating occasions throughout the day and they’re more doing a lot of grazing, or ‘If I want a treat, I’m going to have it right now’ behavior. So an impulse, something that doesn’t need a spoon, is more suited to that,” Jennifer says.

This year Häagen-Dazs entered five new countries including Australia (which has one of the higher ice cream consumption rates in the world), the Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia.

To download high-resolution versions of the images in this post, click here

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