Ice Cream Truck Experiences Were This Summer’s Coolest Marketing Campaigns

Food & Drink

From tourism experiences to fashion events and shockingly successful cheesie gimmicks, promotional ice cream trucks have been big media headliners in the Big Apple this summer— but those who thought that all of the flavorful fun was about ice cream alone would have totally missed the pint.

Here’s the scoop…

While consumers got to enjoy their favorite ice cold summer treat street side during the hot summer months, innovative brands were making direct, memorable connections with prospective customers.

According to marketing company, Food Truck Promotions, ice cream trucks have been used by brands in recent years as experiential vehicles or “non-traditional, mobile marketing platforms that create multi-sensory experiences and drive engagement between brands and consumers.” Essentially, these are the billboards or magazine ads of the day.

Here are the top three New York summer ice cream truck campaigns.

June 18: Big Gay Ice Cream celebrates with #MKPride

In celebration of Pride Month in June, and Big Gay Ice Cream’s 12th anniversary during the same month, luxury fashion retailer, Michael Kors teamed up with the iconic ice cream brand in a very sweet— and colorful— #MKPride promotion. A co-branded soft serve truck parked outside the Rockefeller Center store in New York, supplied Michael Kors customers with free co-branded ice cream in a variety of flavors including twist soft serve, novelty ice cream sandwich and pink and yellow birthday cake swirl, which was created exclusively for #MKPride. The day attracted familiar faces and vibrant rainbow colors. Michael Kors also launched the special-edition #MKPride rainbow patch t-shirt which benefitted OutRight Action International, a nonprofit that works to advance human rights for LGBTIQ people globally.

July 14: Van Leeuwen’s cheesie promotion

When six thousand scoops of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Ice Cream sell out in one hour you know you have a publicity stunt that’s gone out of conetrol. On July 14, in honor of National Macaroni and Cheese Day, Brooklyn-based creamery, Van Leeuwen partnered with Kraft in the release of a savory-sweet ice cream flavor, made of cream, milk, cane sugar, egg yolks and Kraft cheese sauce mix. And while all six thousand sales took place online and in Van Leeuwen stores, an ice cream truck based in Union Square gave out free samples all day, creating added visibility— and it worked. The far-out flavor was such a hit that the brand relaunched the promotional product on August 31 at a whopping $12 a pint.

July 18: A sweet hook up in New York

In honor of National Ice Cream Day on July 18, online travel agency

advertised two overnight experiences in a fully-functional ice cream truck in Union Square Park in New York. The two offers were made available at the cost of $7.18 (in recognition of the holiday’s date) and featured a stay in a private truck with an ice cream themed interior including a waffle cone bed spread and ice cream truck art, with a fully-stocked fridge of ice cream-related goodies, a milkshake making station, an all you can eat toppings bar, and ice cream experiences that included a Downtown Manhattan ice cream shop walking tour and tickets to the Museum of Ice Cream. also celebrated some of its destinations by distributing free internationally-inspired ice cream flavors in Union Square.

Whether it’s through outrageous experiences or shocking flavors, ice cream trucks have become a popular marketing choice for businesses seeking to make memorable connections with customers. Interweaving a national day or an enjoyable experience with fond childhood memories and the delicious taste of ice cream creates an emotional, multi sensory connection— and makes for a great story.

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