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For YOUR pleasure

How do you think the global brand director of Häagen-Dazs, Jennifer Jorgensen, chose to describe the target for her brand’s big new repositioning?

A. Millennials

B. Adults who eat premium ice cream

C. The Instagram generation

D. The millennial inside everyone

E. Someone called Lily

If you said A, your eyes probably rolled as you answered. As commentators frequently comment, how can a target be anyone aged 21 to 37 (ish)?

But since Generation X, it’s been all the rage to give age ranges a label. It does feel like the craze is now running out of steam. Maybe there’s nowhere to go after Z.

At least Jennifer had a reason for saying millennials. Häagen-Dazs is apparently seen by them as a brand for older people. That’s not good, particularly if it’s getting in the way of them buying it.

If you went for B, I can see where you’re coming from. Brand growth is all about penetration, so target the category. In the UK that means buyers of Magnums and Ben & Jerry’s and Green & Black’s and Mackie’s and Halo Top and Breyers and Tesco Finest and a good few more.

Jennifer explains it differently. Häagen-Dazs has lots of older consumers who they don’t want to alienate. So although they want to stop the brand being seen as outdated, they had to be clever about it. So the research sample was broad. It mattered what older buyers thought.

Who said C? You must have read the interview in Marketing Week then, “How Häagen-Dazs is reimagining the brand for the Instagram generation”. If you didn’t see it, you can read it here.

Apparently, the brief for the new visual identity was “Instagrammable”. The article even uses the phrase “Instagram-friendly millennial aesthetic.” No, I don’t know what that means either. Interesting brief, though.

Any takers for D? It’s at least intriguing. A first suggestion of looking beyond demographics and buying behaviour.

The way Jennifer explains it is in terms of an alternative view of luxury. Whereas for some that’s about overt branding, the ‘millennial’ view is it’s about experience and craftsmanship.

Of course, it’s a cliché that millennials place more value on experiences than possessions. And Häagen-Dazs has always been about the experience. The only thing is all premium ice cream is. So how do you differentiate yourself? That’s what the original ‘Dedicated to pleasure’ UK launch campaign did so brilliantly.

But at least ‘the millennial inside everyone’ suggests they’re targeting a a common need. What is it, though? Sophistication? Discernment? Definitely on the standing-apart side of the Need Map. Individuality, maybe.

Which brings us to E. It would have been an odd choice to make as you had nothing to go on. Lily’s only mentioned in passing in the interview as well. Presumably it is ‘Lily the Millennial’, a pen portrait, although maybe the team did find the epitome of who they were after in a group or immersion.

Either way, it does suggest a personalizing of the target. One of the issues for the brand was that it was starting to feel “unapproachable and unattainable” and Jennifer talks about the desire to build a more personal connection.

So actually all five answers are right, in their own different way. Everyone take a mark.

As for me, I like Lily. I wouldn’t rush to describe her as a ‘millennial’, although she’s probably in that age bracket.

I bet she eats premium ice cream. That might even include Häagen-Dazs, but she probably buys another brand more often.

She might be on Instagram a lot or a little. So it might be a good channel for reaching her or it might not. I wouldn’t put all my money on it.

What she has in common with other fans of premium ice cream is a love of the experience, that desire for carefree pleasure, the escape from the everyday.

But why Lily and Häagen-Dazs?

Maybe it’s that, ultimately, pleasure is personal. Maybe Lily’s real loyalty isn’t even to a brand but to certain flavours of that brand. That’s the real connection. She loves that Macadamia Nut Brittle one.

So Häagen-Dazs is dedicated to Lily’s pleasure.

Lucky old Lily.

Sorry, young Lily.

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