A creative and agile ‘lockdown partnership’ between Häagen-Dazs and Secret Cinema, promoted entirely by a multi-platform influencer marketing campaign, has demonstrated a marked increase in e-commerce sales and a positive shift in consideration for the luxury General Mills ice cream brand – and drawn industry praise for its ingenuity.

Häagen-Dazs runs influencer campaign #HaagIndoors for Secret Sofa

Launched within three weeks of the UK nationwide lockdown, the #HaagIndoors campaign aligned to the Secret Cinema partnership was designed to create a new ‘cultural moment’ with Secret Sofa by Häagen-Dazs: bringing a community of film lovers together every Friday evening at 7:30pm for eight weeks of lockdown to enjoy past Secret Cinema productions as a weekly screening with a bespoke Häagen-Dazs flavor match for the film enabled by their Amazon Prime Now partnership.

The social content campaign, managed by global influencer marketing agency TAKUMI, was Häagen-Dazs’s longest and first multi-platform influencer marketing amplification, and also a global debut for the brand on social media platform TikTok.

The campaign brought the ice cream brand’s partnership with Secret Cinema to life, as TAKUMI activated twenty-four nano and micro-influencers across Instagram and TikTok to produce creator-led content and actions every week in alignment with the chosen film and the corresponding flavor; including special recipe creations over the course of the campaign driving social buzz and at-home inspiration via Häagen-Dazs collaborations with Sipsmith Gin for ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Romeo+ Juliet’ Rival House Serves with Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and an iconic American 80s style cola float with Jack Daniel’s for the ‘Ghostbusters’ finale.

The weekly screenings were preceded by newsletters revealing the film of the week and how to access it. A pre-screening narrative was also distributed to participants, encouraging the audience to dress up as key characters, learn choreographed dances, make props and create playlists. Recipients of the Secret Sofa newsletter also received a secret weekly code to order the Häagen-Dazs flavour of the week exclusively delivered to their living rooms by Amazon Prime Now.

The campaign’s primary objectives were to drive awareness of the new Secret Sofa initiative, drive brand consideration and positive sentiment for Häagen-Dazs as well as build sales conversion on Amazon Prime Now.

The TAKUMI-managed influencer content resulted in almost three times more engagement than the industry benchmark and achieved the highest ever campaign engagement for Haagen-Dazs in the UK on Instagram. It also resulted in driving awareness via 80,000 new subscribers to the Secret Sofa initiative. Across the 450+ influencer assets created over the 8-week period, almost 3 million content views were achieved, generating over 450,000 actions including over 60,000 actions via Instagram Stories, and engagement rates of 18.9% and 4.15% on TikTok and Instagram respectively.

Equally, Häagen-Dazs also saw its week-on-week unit sales almost double over the course of the 8-week Secret Sofa activation on Amazon Prime Now. On the back of the targeted influencer activity in the lockdown period coupled with a three week TV campaign on-air, the brand saw its buzz scores significantly increase (growing nearly four-fold among females) and consideration scores hit a peak being at a higher level than it was over its latest two year period in 2018/19.

A highly engaged Secret Sofa by Häagen-Dazs digital community was also created on Facebook with nearly 13,000 members sharing user-generated content of their thematic film, costume and ice cream experiences. The campaign was highlighted as a best-in-class case study in community by the social media platform following more than 115,000 reactions including over 84,000 shares of #SecretSofa and #HaagIndoors.

Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO at TAKUMI, said: “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been amazed at the agility and creativity of our influencers despite international restrictions on movement, and the #Haagindoors campaign for Secret Sofa is a shining example of this.

“Tasked with leading Häagen-Dazs’s first-ever influencer campaign on TikTok and its longest-ever campaign on social media, our influencers exceeded expectations on all fronts. The #Haagindoors campaign was a pioneering best-in-class industry pivot to COVID-19 that brought entertainment and ice cream into our homes and created a new cultural moment with Secret Sofa by bringing communities together at a socially distanced time.”

Arjoon Bose, Europe-Australasia marketing head, culture and brand experience at General Mills, added: “With Secret Sofa and #HaagIndoors, we strived to bring little moments of upliftment to the lockdown like we aim to do everyday with our ice cream by bringing the magical mix of Secret Cinema and Häagen-Dazs indoors to living rooms across Britain. It allowed us to create this new weekly communal experience at a point in time when people were craving comfort and cheer.

‘’It was also the ideal moment for Häagen-Dazs to plunge into a booming entertainment-first platform like TikTok that perfectly resonated with our audience allowing for our first multi-platform influencer campaign combining it with Instagram which was overall standout in terms of collaboration, creativity of content, cultural conversation and action on e-commerce and in driving participation. Equally, seeing the dial move on brand relevance and recently being voted and awarded by the UK public as a highlight of their lockdown was immensely rewarding, validating our decision that prioritising and accelerating brand salience during challenging times when others opt to slow down clearly yields results. Most importantly, it served as a powerful reminder to us that perhaps the greatest tool brands and marketers have at their disposal is their ability to genuinely help, entertain and eventually connect people.’

Amy Farrant, marketing director at Secret Cinema, concludes: “The Secret Sofa Häagen-Dazs campaign allowed us to maintain an intimate and meaningful relationship with our existing audience, as well as attracting new fans into the Secret Cinema family working brilliantly in association with #HaagIndoors. We created the perfect outlet for lockdown boredom; allowing us to spread some joy, when people needed it the most. We were amazed with the level of engagement and audience participation; and thrilled to win Time Out’s Time In ‘Lockdown Champion Award’ in the Arts and Entertainment Saviours section for the best virtual film club.

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