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Ben & Jerry’s publicist talks social responsbility

Sean Greenwood, North American head of PR for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, paid a visit to campus April 3, as part of Communication Week. The Bill Bordy Theater was packed with people intrigued by Ben & Jerry’s socially responsible campaigns and students looking forward to the free ice cream served after the lecture. Ben & Jerry’s was already at the front of many students’ minds that day because the lecture coincided with Ben & Jerry’s national Free Cone Day.

Assistant Professor of Marketing Communication Kristin Lieb introduced Greenwood and gave the audience a brief overview of his accomplishments at Ben & Jerry’s.

Greenwood started his presentation by explaining how founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were eventually able to turn their small business into the mega-famous company it is today. Greenwood described the various ways that Ben & Jerry’s has taken its core beliefs as a company and transferred them into the product and the ways it is marketed to the public. Ben & Jerry’s employees are “die-hard social mission junkies,” according to Greenwood, and try to find a worthy cause at every step of the process.

Everything from greener freezers to their commitment to fair trade, as well as their stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage, have helped bring Ben & Jerry’s to the forefront of socially responsible marketing. Ben & Jerry’s major campaign this year focuses on “getting the dough out” of politics. The company believes money from corporations obscures the voice of the American people and wants to try to halt large corporate donations.

After the lecture, the audience was delighted to find the discontinued flavor Schweddy Balls waiting for them at a table in the back of the theater.

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