Häagen-Dazs Don’t Hold Back: A certain je ne sais quoi

haagenAnd so to France…home of the Eiffel Tower, Musée du Louvre, Notre-Dame de Paris, Palace of Versailles, The French Rivera, fine wines, gourmet food, riots on the streets and now the quintessentially American ice cream brand Häagen-Dazs.

Even though the Americans and French have never quite seen eye to eye (remember Freedom Fries anyone?) Häagen-Dazs is going all out to celebrate French culture, love, and macarons in a new global campaign under its “Don’t Hold Back” platform.

Teaming up with French pastry chef and chocolatier Pierre Hermé, who has been dubbed the ‘Picasso of pastries’, the brand is aiming to create the ultimate indulgence with a French twist.

According to the official blurb, the new summer creation “combines the creamy taste of ice cream with the crunchy chewiness of mini macaron shells, delivering a perfect balance of flavours”.

Developed in partnership with the creative collective Forsman & Bodenfors, the new ad campaign will be launched globally, starting with the UK and Korea, and rolled out to the rest of the world this summer.

Cue accordion music (what else?) and a multi-cultural fashionista cast enjoying the new macaron ice cream playing out various scenes at a French château, from enjoying board games and splashing around in a paddling pool to running round a maze and having a posh picnic in the gardens. It ends with the strapline: “Voilà! The ice cream of ice creams.”

The campaign consists of TV, OOH, digital shorts, and a number of locally adapted experiences. From France to Korea to China – these experiences will highlight Parisian love and culture under the theme “Summer of Amour” celebrating romance through the entire summer.

Häagen-Dazs global brand director Manuel Garabato said: “Our first-ever global collaboration with Pierre Hermé perfectly showcases the true craftsmanship of our brands. We share a commitment to high quality and taste, a passion for innovating and reinterpreting classic favorites and creating extraordinary experiences for our consumers.

“‘Don’t hold back’ drives us in everything we do, and with this global campaign, we’re bringing together some of the greatest things in life – ice cream and macarons.”

Forsman & Bodenfors creative Agnes Stenberg-Schentz added: “Creatively, our partnership with Häagen-Dazs has been an absolute joy, as we set out to craft a campaign that celebrates the magical union of ice cream and macarons with a uniquely French twist. By embodying the ‘Don’t hold back’ attitude of Häagen-Dazs, we were able to capture the essence of Parisian craftmanship and celebration and elevate it to a new era of indulgence.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, of course, we love Häagen-Dazs and some of us even have French ancestry so we are slap bang in the middle of the target market. Does the campaign celebrate the magical union of ice cream and macarons with a uniquely French twist? Peut-être. Does it capture the essence of Parisian craftmanship and celebration and elevate it to a new era of indulgence? Pas vraiment.

No matter, it has a certain appeal. It is also quintessentially French rather than quintessentially American and if that’s what they were after, it succeeds on all fronts. Whether it has global allure is another matter…

Decision Marketing Adometer: A ‘très français’ 7 out of 10

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