WASHINGTON – All Ben & Jerry's wanted was to treat Washingtonians to some free ice cream. Leave it to a group of Washington consultants to respond with an attack ad.
Digital ad producers at the consulting company, Revolution Messaging, had requested a visit from Ben & Jerry's free-ice-cream truck, which is touring the country to promote new flavors. The consultants say they didn't appreciate getting passed over when the truck instead visited the Redskins football team.
So Revolution Messaging went on offense, tweeting, "Dear @benjerrystruck, we warned you we play dirty, kisses @RevMsg." Its June 4 YouTube video slams the ice cream makers for being "wrong for D.C., wrong for America."
"Ben & Jerry's ice cream promised to cool down overheated D.C. workers," the video says. "But instead, they spent the day in Maryland, hanging out with the most hated name in the NFL."
Zooming in on the Redskins logo, the ad's narrator asks, "What would the Native Americans think?" The ad then plays off the iconic 1971 "Keep America Beautiful" ad campaign that featured a Native American crying over pollution. "What will D.C. lobbyists do?" the narrator asks, as a tear rolls down the cheek of a man wearing a suit.
Ben & Jerry's at first took a hard line.
"We don't negotiate with videographers," @BenJerrysTruck tweeted.
But the Burlington based ice cream maker, which counts "Imagine Whirled Peace" among its flavors, quickly abandoned the fight.
Its free ice cream truck arrived Friday at the headquarters of Revolution Messaging, a group led by former staff and campaign advisers to President Barack Obama. After "rethinking things" — and eating a bunch of free ice cream — Revolution Messaging revised its earlier opinion of the ice cream makers. Its new ad calls Ben and Jerry "truly both heroes of the city we love and the land that birthed them."
Scott Goodstein, founder of Revolution Messaging, called it a "sweet and satisfying reconciliation."
"We hope this will inspire more leaders in Washington to jointly lift a spoon, a cup or a cone as a way to get past their conflicts, find common ground and move America forward," he said in a statement.
Contact Nicole Gaudiano at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ngaudiano.
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