I have to hand it over to the marketing team of Unilever-Selecta in the Philippines. They played their cards extremely right in marketing Magnum, the newest ice cream bar that Unilever is distributing in the country.
First of all, they launched Magnum just around summertime. The Philippine summer is that kind of heat that makes me want to fold myself into the refrigerator and stay there (if only that was possible).
Then, they targeted a select group of celebrities and personalities with a huge online following to market the ice cream online and make it viral. A photo of a celebrity licking a Magnum bar posted on his or her Twitter or Facebook is enough to send the fans running to the nearest convenience store to buy their own Magnum so they, too, can post a photo or tweet about it online.
Brilliant marketing, Unilever-Selecta. I hope you gave your marketing whizzes a big bonus for making Magnum one of the top-trending topics online and generating so much buzz that it was sold out a day after it was launched.
I didn’t learn about the Magnum craze from the TV or print media. I read about it first from the posts in a Filipino bloggers group I’m a member of on Facebook. Most likely, if you ask anyone who’s active online, they’d tell you the same thing. They either saw it from their friends’ FB status posts or from the blogs on their reader feed. I think the Magnum commercial hit the airwaves much later.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of Magnum either. I have a friend who used to work for Unilever in New York. Unilever, the largest ice cream maker in the world, is also the distributor of Magnum in USA, as well as Ben & Jerry’s, another well-known ice cream brand in America.
As a Unilever employee, my friend had free access to these ice cream products (he said they had this industrial-sized freezer where Unilever staff can just choose which ice cream they’d like to get for that day). So I asked him how good is Magnum and if it’s better than B&J.
He said Magnum is ok, but he prefers Ben & Jerry’s. Between Magnum and Häagen-Dazs, he said he’d pick the latter. But of the three, Ben & Jerry’s is still the winner for him.
So when the Magnum fever hit the Philippines, I wasn’t too moved to run to the nearest ice cream store and grab a Magnum bar.
What I did, instead, was to buy a couple of Häagen-Dazs, since we don’t have Ben & Jerry’s here in Dumaguete City.
This is the most expensive ice cream I’ve ever bought. Three of these nearly cost a thousand pesos. Each one was around P200+. On my way home from the grocery store, I wanted to go back and return it.
But then I took a bite.
I almost peed in my pants. Honestly.
This ice cream is freaking delicious. You know what they say about chocolate being better than sex? I think that whoever coined that phrase probably had Häagen-Dazs in mind. This ice cream bar is creamy, rich, and delectable without the overpowering sweetness that you often find in cheaper brands. This is the ultimate frozen premium luxury on a stick. I actually licked the stick long after I was done eating the bar.
Häagen-Dazs has got to be the Gucci of ice cream. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s the Hermes, because I need to give Ben & Jerry’s a taste first.
So after that absolutely sinful indulgence, I went and bought a Magnum ice cream bar. It was, well, ok. For its price, it tasted great. But then comparing Magnum to Häagen-Dazs is like comparing a Ferrari to a Chevy or a Ford. And I’m sure you know already which is the Ferrari for me.
Now, I know Häagen-Dazs penetrated the Philippine market much earlier than Magnum did. I’ve already seen them displayed in our local major supermarkets here before Magnum hit the country. But Häagen-Dazs didn’t garner as much hype.
It could be because of its exorbitant cost. Unless you’re ultra-rich, you wouldn’t regularly buy an ice cream bar that costs more than most of the daily wages of some workers.
And then there’s the advertising, which I personally thought played a key role. Sometimes, all it takes is shrewd marketing to successfully sell even the most mediocre of products. Magnum is proof that advertisers shouldn’t underestimate the power of a product going viral online translating to revenues. It had me buying one, didn’t it?∗