Baskin-Robbins Preps App-based Super Bowl Promo

The pre-game discount is for a Polar Pizza and it's one of the ways Baskin-Robbins tries to warm up sales during the winter months for its 2,500 U.S. locations, says Dave Nagel, the ice cream chain's consumer engagement director.

Ice cream may seem like a seasonal item, but for Baskin-Robbins, the marketing goal is to make it a year-round desire.

It’s an obvious challenge in colder climates during the winter months to get people to show up at its 2,500 U.S. outlets, but the brand has its ways.

Following its post-New Year debut of the Warm Lava Cake Sundae and its “Celebrate 31” on January 31st in recognition of its “famous 31 flavors,” Baskin-Robbins is rolling out a campaign aimed at Super Bowl parties: an ice cream pizza discount available online and through its mobile app.

We checked in with Dave Nagel, senior director of Consumer Engagement, Baskin-Robbins, on the brand’s winter sales strategy.

GeoMarketing: Winter is not typically thought of a big period for going out for an ice cream. How does Baskin-Robbins get consumers into its franchises in cold-weather places?

Dave Nagel: We shift the focus of our marketing on a regular basis, so we’re serving our guests and potential guests with the most timely, relevant information for them. During this season, our focus has been on warmer desserts, like our Warm Lava Cake Sundae, Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches and Warm Brownie Sundae, given the cooler weather in many parts of the country. We’re also focusing on seasonal flavors and treats, like our new Chocolate Hazelnut Flavor of the Month for February, as well as our Ganache Conversation Heart Ice Cream Cake and “Be Mine” Heart Ice Cream Cake for Valentine’s Day.

Additionally, given the upcoming big game this weekend, we’re offering our guests a mobile coupon for $2 off Polar Pizza, available in the Baskin-Robbins mobile app. This is an example of the brand tying into events taking place in popular culture to be as relevant as possible to our guests.

Does Baskin-Robbins look to weather data to drive ads promoting its shops to consumers on-the-go in real-time ?

We do. Baskin-Robbins leverages weather data provided by a third party to target consumers with the most relevant messaging possible.

For instance, if there happens to be an unseasonably warm day in New York in the spring that may make people crave ice cream even more, we may serve up messaging in our digital channels to drive people to Baskin-Robbins shops in the area.

We’ve looked at how platforms such as Google My Business, Waze, HERE, and others have tried to appeal to brands by directing consumers to “near me searches.” Does Baskin-Robbins take advantage of any of these location/mapping/navigation services?

We haven’t partnered with these specific mapping or navigation services yet, but we’re always looking for new ways to drive consumers into the closest Baskin-Robbins shops.

However, through the Baskin-Robbins mobile app, consumers can find the Baskin-Robbins location nearest them and get directions on their smartphone’s Maps app with a simple tap.

Baskin-Robbins tries to keep things sunny at all its outlets throughout the winter months.

How does Baskin-Robbins promote discovery of its 2,500 U.S. locations? Does the management of local marketing happen mostly at the national level? Or does that mostly occur at the regional/local level?

We promote the discovery of our locations through all of our digital channels, including mobile, social, email and digital advertising. In addition to the efforts of the Baskin-Robbins digital marketing team, we also have field-marketing managers throughout the country who work with our franchisees to help promote their Baskin-Robbins shops both at the regional and local levels.

How does Baskin-Robbins evaluate and consider its tech partners/vendors? Are those decisions mostly in concert with its ad agencies? Or do those decisions tend to come separately?

We evaluate and consider technology vendors based on the task at hand and the qualifications of each individual company. For example, with last year’s launch of the Baskin-Robbins mobile app, we engaged a number of vendors both on the technology and creative sides of the app’s development.

In the end, we chose Tillster and Digitas due to their past work in the mobile space and the proposals they presented to us.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.