Cornetto: Love Can’t Wait

Campaign Summary

Over the last five years, mobile and digital media have become an integral part of teenagers' lives in China, which has caused Cornetto to rethink the ways that it engages with them. After studying the cultural habits of China's post-Millennial generation, Cornetto found that the Chinese teens crave love, but they are scared to make the first move. Using this insight, Cornetto developed a mobile-first strategy that helped teens overcome this challenge by transforming the beloved ice cream brand into a tool that enabled love-struck teens to easily break the ice.


Objective and Context:

In China, Cornetto is a leading ice cream cone brand that is especially popular with teenagers. In recent years, however, the social and digital viewing habits of Chinese teens have changed drastically. They've started filtering out content that isn't interesting to them, including branded videos or ads. With the goal of recapturing Chinese teenagers' attention, Cornetto developed a mobile-first strategy that tapped into something that's always on teens' minds: finding romance.

Target Audience:

The target audience for Cornetto was Chinese teenagers, who aspire to find love, but also believe it to be a complicated affair.

Creative Strategy:

In the past, Chinese teenagers have been shy about making the first move in a romantic situation; nowadays, however, they are brave enough to do it, but don't have the tools to express their feelings. Cornetto wanted to help teens with this. It developed a mobile-first campaign that allowed the brand to become an ice-breaker for teens. Building on this idea, the brand created a website, which could be accessed by scanning a QR code on ice cream cone packages, for teens to create and send digital love letters.


Overall Campaign Execution:

This digital-led, mobile-first campaign consisted of three phases, all of which seamlessly integrated the online and offline worlds through teens' mobile phones.

  1. Tease. Celebrity endorsements have a significant influence on Chinese teens, so Cornetto used celebrities in the brand's activation video and TV commercials to show teens how to express themselves. These mobile pre-roll videos were used to build public awareness and inspire teens to take action using Cornetto's mobile ice-breaker site.
  2. Amplify. To amplify the love letter feature on the site, Cornetto partnered with a digital company called Tencent to maximize the brand's reach to teens. Utilizing Tencent's digital ecosystem—music platforms, game platforms, and WeChat, the largest social media platform in China—Cornetto was able to drive traffic to its mobile page.
  3. Sustain. After teens sent their letters, Cornetto was also there to help them have fun on their dates. The brand created a Love Confession Vending Machine, which toured around major shopping malls in China. Using the vending machine, teens could design a customized Cornetto ice cream cone package on their phones and print it instantly. This allowed teens to create special moments and messages for their dates.

By creating touchpoints for teens on online coupled with memorable offline moments, Cornetto helped teens make the first move.

Mobile Execution:

Cornetto invited teens to express their feelings through an interactive mobile website. Users were able to select from an array of colorful message templates, create unique love confessions, send the love letters via WeChat or QQ, or even invite a date to a physical location and print their personalized messages on Cornetto ice cream cones. For digital messages, the receiver would have only 520 seconds to read the confession before it melted away. The reason for this was that "520" in spoken Chinese has almost the same pronunciation as "I love you." In addition, they could also receive a set of Cornetto celebrity emojis that they could use while chatting online with friends.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

After launch, Cornetto sales increased by 10.6 percent in one month, which was double the annual goal of 4 percent. Additionally, the brand earned 341 million social impressions and 1.21 million retweets on Twitter.

Categories: Mobile Social | Industries: Food & Beverage | Objectives: Mobile Social | Awards: Silver Winner