Haagen-Dazs releases Tmall Ice-cream Cakes


Haagen-Dazs has enjoyed tremendous success in China due to a very focussed entry-strategy based on store presence and dedicated brand-fridges for retailers.  But as Chinese find an appetite for premium ice-cream, Haagen-Dazs faces the challenge of staying relevant with a new generation of netizens.

A Tmall/Haagen-Daz Ice-cream Cake

In collaboration with B2C site Tmall,  Haagen-Dazs launched a special Tmall ice-cream cake and supporting  digital campaign as part of the Tmall’s “Super Brand Day”.  The campaign was timed to coincide with Haagen-Dazs’ 20th year in China.



In a series of digital posters, Haagen-Dazs created a story about a mythical ‘dessert master’ who goes to great lengths to source the flavours for the special Tmall ice cream cake.   To support the launch, the ice cream brand a series of online posters.

See the poster campaign translated below

The following posters featured as part of the Taobao campaign, and on Tmall’s Haagen-Dazs’ Weibo feeds.


“The recipe of our new ice cream cake traces back to our founder’s secret recipe”


“The vanilla is brought by the dessert master, direct from Madagascar – the result of 900 battles with beasts (like the ancient Chinese novels or a video game)”


“To get the raspberry for the cake’s sauce, the dessert master must climb the highest peaks”


“To ensure the highest quality of milk, the dessert master raised a herd of cows”


“The new ice cream cake is a result of the dessert master going into a mediated trance”


“Who would have known, but it is the flavour of ‘that face you know’ – Tmall”

An assessment – Very Off-brand, brand fail

It feels this is another example of a brand getting too carried away with localising, forgetting their brand character in the process.  Haagen-Dazs has always sat at the pinnacle of the category in China, as a result of their early entry and dedicated retail presence.   But in this campaign, the very Chinese themes and product story do fit a brand that has always communicated leadership and premiumness.

It is a classic case of being “Tmall-ed” – if you are going to collaborate with the big e-commerce giants, don’t lose your brand in the process.  Check out our previous article on how other brands have got TMALLED!.


About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

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