Hershey crowd-sourced ideas for new ice cream bars

Working with Crowdiate and Pigeon, the chocolate company came up with a nostalgic ice cream bar that cools when you bite it.


Hershey looked to the wisdom of crowds for the launch of three new bars.

The chocolate CPG teamed up with crowd sourcing platform Crowdiate for a Canada-led global contest, and the result is a limited time ice cream-flavoured chocolate bar.

Each of the three ice cream bar flavours (strawberries and crème, birthday cake and chocolate and mint) comes with ice-cream inspired packaging and mold design created by Pigeon. The bars also have a cooling agent inside, so when someone bites it, there’s a freezing sensation, just like ice cream.

The brief Crowdiate made available to a global network of creatives asked for ideas on form and ingredients, as well as info on the strength of consumer proposition and a new product concept template. Crowdiate curated 115 ideas in 18 countries, eventually shortlisting and refining them until landing on “The Ice Cream Shoppe” concept.

Brittany Satey, marketing lead for Hershey’s megabrand, tells strategy that Crowdiate’s platform allows for a wide range of ideas from around the world in record time, and that it spurs innovative thinking because of a disciplined and collaborative approach to brief writing.

According to Satey, the “Ice Cream Shoppe” concept, aimed at millennial parents, is simple, has wide appeal and is, simply, fun. “But to be honest, it’s not what we think that is important, it’s that it stood out to consumers. They voted and we listened.” When it comes to promotion, Satey says it has TV, online videos and social executions planned for the summer.

Satey says the ice-cream inspired packaging is important, as it enables the platform to have stopping power in store and stand out from the rest of the brand’s core lineup. The design also allows it to communicate the ice cream proposition in a simple way, Satey says.


Pigeon got word after several rounds of consumer research that the “Ice Cream Shoppe” concept was performing highly in terms of purchase intent and appetite appeal. “The Hershey brand is known for chocolate, not ice cream, and they wanted to get a foothold for ice cream,” says Bob Boutilier, Pigeon’s creative director, who adds that there was tremendous amount of interest in the recent success of category disrupter Halo Top, as well as Häagen-Dazs bars, both of which have a more contemporary expression in terms of look and language. However, he says, during research, there was joint interest in a more nostalgic feel and positioning than those two players.

hershey-bar-shapeHence, Ice Cream Shoppe’s inspiration came from old-timey ice cream shops and trucks of the past, without feeling “childish,” and that Pigeon looked to convey creaminess on pack.

Katie Rothschild, Pigeon’s client service director on the Hershey account, says that when Pigeon helped with the fashion and lifestyle inspired launch of Hershey Gold, millennials took to the new mold innovation. Hershey says small, countable pieces make it easier for consumers to break bars into bite-sized pieces – or “pips,” as the company calls them – to share.

With Hershey Gold, Rothschild says, the pips had a Tetris-type design innovation, with both irregular vertical and horizontal pieces, instead of one or the other like most chocolate bars. The new ice cream bar pips are also innovative, with triangles crisscrossing the bar in alternating ice cream cone shapes, instead of the chocolate stamp people have come to associate with Hershey. The cone shapes also feature birthday cake sprinkles and freeze-dried strawberry pieces.

The new ice cream bars are available in-store and online.  Media was led by UM Worldwide and Anomaly led IMC creative.