Ice-cream magnates Ben and Jerry (Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield) have launched a contest to support seven progressive candidates running for Congress this November.
The lucky candidates are Lauren Underwood (Illinois 14th – pictured), Jess King (Pennsylvania 11th), Aftab Pureval (Ohio 1st), J.D. Scholten (Iowa 4th), Ammar Campa Najjar (California 50th), Stephany Rose Spaulding (Colorado 5th), and James Thompson (Kansas 5th).
In partnership with MoveOn.org Political Action, ice cream lovers can suggest a flavor and name that they think best sums up each candidate. The winning flavors will be produced for a special fundraising auction.
Ben and Jerry: “the people, not the corporation”
Famous for their support of progressive causes for decades, Ben and Jerry do make it clear in their online announcement that it is the two individuals, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, and not their eponymous ice cream brand (now owned by Unilever) behind the promotion.
“We need a Democratic majority to check President Trump’s unrestrained power,” the announcement says. “And we also need to send progressive champions to Congress who will fix our health care system with Medicare for All, protect clean air and water, and get big money out of politics.”
Restraining “Trump’s unrestrained power,” in this instance, will be attempted with unrestrained ice cream. Or at least a lot of it. Anyone interested can suggest a new flavor and flavor name for each candidate. Each suggestion should “not only taste great but also capture the essence of what each candidate stands for.”
Anyone interested needs to think quickly. Entries close this Friday. A winner will be chosen for each candidate, and announced on October 7th. Batches of the new flavors will be auctioned to raise much needed campaign funds.
Securing political flavors
The seven honored candidates are unsurprisingly thrilled with the promotion. On her twitter feed, Illinois candidate Lauren Underwood said, “Very exciting news!” before offering her supporters a hint: “For the record: my favorite flavor is Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch.”
Meanwhile, in California, Ammar Campa Najjar suggests a punnier choice, “Pretty sure Ammar-ican pie ice cream would sell like hot cakes. Except it’s ice cream.”
In Kansas, James Thompson has tweeted out one of the entries:
My favorite so far from Blake Cooper!
Salted caramel ice cream, white chocolate chips and a large chocolate swirl.
Represents your team bringing people from all walks of life together along with your salty brand of politics.
— James Thompson (@JamesThompsonKS) September 22, 2018
Politics and food: a winning combination
Although the effort by Ben and Jerry is a novel way to raise funds, celebrating political figures is nothing new to the food industry.
Baby Ruth candy bar claimed it was named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter Ruth. Coming on the heels of the popularity of baseball player Babe Ruth, and decades after Cleveland had left office, many have claimed the explanation was less than totally genuine.
President Carter’s brother Billy promoted his own brand of beer, trading on the first brother’s reputation for heavy drinking. On each can of Billy Beer above Carter’s signature was the explanation:
“I had this beer brewed up just for me. I think it’s the best I ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot. I think you’ll like it, too.”
Ben and Jerry’s promotion is different from previous political tie-ups because they are using the power of their brand to promote politicians, rather than the other way round.
And it is certainly different from President Donald Trump’s recent food-related international incident. In May his Scottish golf resort Trump Turnberry banned the Scottish cult soft drink Irn-Bru. The bright orange fizzy pop is so beloved in its home country that it led to one Scottish tweeter declaring, “The President of the United States has just declared war on Scotland.”