How Dippin' Dots Made the Most of Unexpected Attention From the White House Press Secretary

The ice cream company knew it had to respond to unearthed tweets from Sean Spicer, but it kept its messaging positive.
How Dippin' Dots Made the Most of Unexpected Attention From the White House Press Secretary
Image credit: Dippin' Dots
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Early Sunday morning, while Americans were scrutinizing the remarks White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had given during a press conference the previous afternoon, Dippin’ Dots was scrambling to prepare its own statement addressing President Donald Trump’s spokesman.

Twitter users had unearthed some old tweets that Spicer had posted in 2010, 2011 and 2015 that were critical of the beaded ice cream company.

As the tweets began to gain more public attention, the Dippin’ Dots marketing team knew it had to craft a response. Entrepreneur spoke with Marketing Zen CEO Shama Hyder, who worked with Paducah, Ky.-based Dippin’ Dots on its open letter to Spicer.

“In this day and age, brands just can’t not respond,” Hyder says. “It’s really not an option.”

Dippin’ Dots's goal with the open letter, posted on the company's website on Monday and shared via the company’s social media channels (read it below), was to speak to customers, Hyder explains.

“We wanted to address everyone, talking about how Dippin’ Dots is an American company building American jobs,” Hyder says. “The idea was not for it to be contentious or political in any way.”

While Dippin’ Dots’s tagline used to be “Ice Cream of the Future,” the company recently transitioned to “Taste the Fun.” Because fun is central to the brand, the company wanted the open letter to be lighthearted in tone.

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“For a campaign to be successful, for a brand to be successful in the digital age, it doesn’t have to be divisive,” Hyder says. “It needs to stay true to brand values, and you don’t necessarily have to pick sides.”

While the Dippin’ Dots team was surprised to discover Spicer’s tweets, it turned the unexpected attention into a major marketing opportunity.

“It’s always very heartening when a client is able to get more visibility than a Super Bowl ad,” Hyder says, noting that Dippin’ Dots started trending on Facebook Monday night. “The team’s really been working around the clock and thinking of all the ways that we can continue to make the most of it.”

On Monday night, Spicer tweeted back to Dippin’ Dots regarding the company’s offer to host an ice cream social at the White House. 

While Hyder wouldn’t explicitly confirm whether an event is in the works, she did tell Entrepreneur, “We’re working on a few things right now, and we’d be happy to update you with a response when it’s finalized.”

Ultimately, Hyder emphasized that the role of Dippin’ Dots, as a fun-centric ice cream brand, is to bring people together, or “mend fences and build bridges.” By extending an olive branch to Spicer, as Hyder describes, the company sought to turn a negative exchange into a positive relationship.

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“This isn’t just about Dippin’ Dots, this is what every brand faces today, these opportunities or these pockets of being able to take a situation and turn a critic into a champion,” Hyder says. “I think that there are some really great brand lessons here for all brands engaging in social media.”

An Open Letter to Sean Spicer from Dippin' Dots CEO Scott Fischer

Dear Sean,

We understand that ice cream is a serious matter. And running out of your favorite flavor can feel like a national emergency! We’ve seen your tweets and would like to be friends rather than foes. After all, we believe in connecting the dots.

As you may or may not know, Dippin’ Dots are made in Kentucky by hundreds of hard working Americans in the heartland of our great country. As a company, we’re doing great. We’ve enjoyed double-digit growth in sales for the past three years. That means we’re creating jobs and opportunities. We hear that's on your agenda too.

We can even afford to treat the White House and press corps to an ice cream social. What do you say? We’ll make sure there’s plenty of all your favorite flavors.

Yours,

Scott, CEO of Dippin’ Dots

@DippinDots
Edition: April 2017

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