In March of 2019, Halo Top released its very first national ad campaign entitled “Ice Cream for Adults.” In the series of four commercials, young children approach a Halo Top branded ice cream truck, insisting that they deserve ice cream for reasons such as completing an arts and crafts project or doing their homework. The Halo Top ice cream man informs them in each commercial that they are, in fact, not deserving of ice cream, as they do not pay a mortgage or work a real job. He questions the children through replies like, “You know what Donnie made? Not enough to cover his mortgage,” or “You know what your mommy did today? Actual work at a job she can’t stand.” You can check out a compilation of all four ads here.

In this hilarious campaign full of dark humor and childlike innocence, Halo Top hit it out of the park. This is because the company nailed two important marketing essentials: an understanding of your product and an understanding of your target market.

The Importance of Understanding Your Product

If you are unfamiliar with the brand, Halo Top offers pints of ice cream in a variety of creative flavors that boast only 280-380 calories per pint. This isn’t the traditional sweet treat enjoyed by children, and Halo Top understands that. Because really, how can you explain your product to your customers if you don’t know what you’re trying to sell yourself? In these commercials, the explanation of the product is done in such a savvy way by denying the children ice cream and telling them that adults deserve it more. The slogan at the end of each commercial ties everything up with a nice and neat bow: “Ice cream for adults, ‘cause adults need a lot of ice cream.”

How many times have you watched a commercial only to be confused at the end as to what exactly the product was? This isn’t the case here with this Halo Top campaign. The slogan directly states what the product is: ice cream for adults. The miserable real-world experiences of adults in the ads contrast with the adorable naivety of the children to portray to the customer exactly what the product is, and in doing this, they clarify who their target market is.

The Importance of Understanding Your Target Market

Speaking of target market, it’s also crucial for you to clearly define who those people are. Your ad needs to target a certain consumer and speak to them specifically. If you don’t select a target market, your advertisement becomes like throwing a bunch of puzzle pieces in the air and hoping they land in just the right places to form the final image of the puzzle. That’s pretty impossible, and so is reaching customers when you don’t know who those customers are.

The Halo Top commercials call out their customers through common issues that a lot of adults face: not being able to find love, struggling to pay the bills, or working hard to obtain a promotion in a company. They even make use of a celebrity endorsement to target a vast population: fans of The Bachelor franchise. Nick Viall, a two-time contestant on The Bachelorette who ultimately did not find love on the show, appears in one commercial to tell kids that love isn’t easy. In Viall’s commercial, the Halo Top ice cream man informs two adorable little lovebirds that “Cute doesn’t get you ice cream. You know what does? Realizing that love is an illusion, and we all die alone.” Enter Viall, who takes a pint of Halo Top and lets the kids know that love is “never worth it in the end.”

One thing that is interesting about these commercials is Halo Top takes it a step further and targets their market by actually directly showing who their customer is not: kids. When the children approach the Halo Top ice cream truck in each commercial and ask for ice cream, they are denied. In one instance, the man in the ice cream truck tells a little girl, “Skip this over to your mom. She looks like she needs it more than you.” In this ad series, Halo Top makes it incredibly clear that they are selling to adults and not children.

Halo Top is a perfect example of how these two marketing tasks go hand in hand. Their desire is to make an ice cream treat for adults, and they understand that adults are their target market, so they fine-tune their product to this demographic through flavors like Caramel Macchiato and Mochi Green Tea that wouldn’t be appealing to children. They call out this demographic by appealing to issues that every adult can likely identify with. Part of the reason why I think these ads are so good is because the portrayal of what the product is and who they are selling it to is so incredibly clear that by the end of the commercial there is no room for confusion, just a craving for ice cream to take away all those adult problems you deal with on a daily basis.

Gaining an understanding of both your product and your target market isn’t a one and done. As your business expands, you need to continually reevaluate what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to in order to grow your product line and penetrate new markets. Who knows, maybe Halo Top will create a kids’ line in the future for those pint-sized consumers and finally reward them for their arts and crafts projects and completed homework.

About the Author

Gina Lizzo

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