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Ice-cream ads - can they ever be wrong?

Would you buy an ice-cream from this man?

Brilliant ad? Downright offensive? Either or both?

To celebrate the US's National Ice-Cream Day (July 18) and this whole week, we're taking a peek at our fave summertime treat through the ad lens.

Although the ancient Greeks were eating a mix of snow and fruits in the 5th century BC, ice-cream didn’t reach America until 1800. The USA is now the world’s largest producer and consumer, with the average American eating some 20 pounds of the yummy stuff a year, and 19% admitting they enjoy it in bed.

In Europe, Italian ‘gelato’ is very highly regarded, and if you say ‘Just One Cornetto’ to Europeans who pre-date the 1980s, you may be startled by how many will burst into song. Watch the Anglo-Dutch company Walls’ gondolier ad blending sweet expectations with dry humour, then see if you can get that jingle out of your head.

So far, it’s all good clean fun, innit?

Then things went suggestive...

Really? Good old ‘Can I have an ice-cream, Daddy, pleeeeeeeeeeease’ went suggestive?

Yes, little one, yes.

U.S. company Haagen Dazs upped the raciness factor with spots such as this cool number featuring hot Hollywood star Bradley Cooper.

Magnum also sensualised its products with ads including model Cara Delevingne in this collaboration with Moschino (2017) and #TrueToPleasure with singer-songwriter Halsey in 2020.
Ice-cream as fashion statement
The ice-cream cone as a desirable fashion accessory achieves the extraordinary in this 2018 ad, almost upstaging both Chinese actress Ni Ni, and the flamboyant outfits she's modelling for luxury Italian fashion house Gucci's sunglasses collection that year.
"We struck sprinkles!"
Insurance company Geico went the humour route in 2019 with scenes of outdoor workers receiving a 'mother lode' of soft-serve ice-cream to see them through the day's toil. 

Beyond all that....

Way, way beyond.

The 2015 ad in the top image was our first on Addvertising.org. It's also the one that made advertising guru Dave Trott pause when we described it in response to his challenge to name a truly creative ad. “What’s the name of the ice-cream?” he asked.

The answer is Little Baby’s, a U.S. company which closed in 2019. An earlier one of theirs shows a person eating their own head, which is apparently made of ice-cream - somehow not as disturbing as the modern Mr Whippy?

Innocence Regained
Let's end on a more innocent image of ice-cream - nothing to do with the treat itself, this (above)  is actually an ad for Swatch watches. 

Happy Ice-Cream Day / Week, everyone! 


Posted by Tree Elven on 08/08/2021

Keywords: Ice-cream ads, Little Baby's ice-cream ads, controversial ads

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