Of all national ice cream brands, Ben & Jerry's deserves their cult-like following if only for their creative flavors and names. Come on, what other company would popularize flavors like Stephen Colbert's AmeriCone Dream or the ever-giggle-worthy Schweddy Balls? Well, now they're stepping up their game -- literally -- with their "City Churned" campaign. They're crowd-sourcing fans in five U.S. cities -- Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, Portland, and Seattle -- to create a new ice cream flavor based on the "bike lanes they choose, the taxis they hail, and the ties that the men wear."
For example, the path D.C. joggers choose will count as votes for either marshmallows (northbound) or peppermint (southbound). In New York City, on-time subway trains will count as votes for either waffle cone pieces or caramel, depending on the train line. Depending on what coffee sleeve you choose in Seattle, you'll be casting a vote for cookie dough or brownies. Weird!
I don't get it. The initial idea sounded so smart, so fun. But they're micromanaging. Who really cares about voting for marshmallows or peppermint? What if you don't like either? And most of all, what does either have to do with D.C.?
Also, it's not like voters are going to really feel all that invested in the scheme anyway, because in the end, the plan is for the new flavor to be unveiled at a community event in each city, where it'll only be available for a day. Lame!
I feel like everyone would be much more psyched and motivated to participate in this contest if it involved creating a flavor that reflected the city! Like New Yorkers could vote for a gelato with a Mulberry Street cannoli filling swirl or one with candied nuts like you can get off of the snack carts on Manhattan's streets. Seattle-ites could opt for fresh-brewed coffee with chocolate covered espresso beans or Washington apple with "plaid" cinnamon crunch. The contest doesn't involve them, of course, but if (my sweet home) Chicago was in the mix, there could be a Blackhawks-inspired flavor with blackberries and chocolate, maybe, or a "Chicago Mix" flavor with cheddar and caramel corn in vanilla ice cream with a caramel swirl (mmm!). And as for Portlandia ... well, those flavors would just have to be downright weird! (Maybe something inspired by all the produce that's in a CSA delivery this week.)
I'm sure people would have a blast coming up with flavors like that -- and they could take pride in their hometown while doing it. I'm still curious to see how the campaign shakes out. But if they try to do a city-inspired ice cream flavors in the future, I would hope they were actually inspired by that city's "flavor."
What would your city's flavor be?
Image via ruocaled/Flickr