Project:
Vermont's Finest
Client:
Ben & Jerry's
Year:
2013 - 2014
Ambition:
Create a delightful batch of original documentary shorts to live within the new benjerry.com, in partnership with our friends at Happy Cog.
Services:
  • Concept
    • Content Strategy
    • Screenwriting
    • Treatments
  • Pre-Production
    • Casting
    • Locations
    • Crew
    • Gear
  • Production
    • 2 weeks of shooting on location in Vermont
  • Post-Production
    • Editing
    • Color grading
    • Music
    • Voiceover direction
    • Audio mix and master

“If it's not fun, why do it?”
— Jerry Greenfield, Cofounder of Ben & Jerry's

One of the quirkier facts about Crush & Lovely is that two of our team members grew up in an ice cream shop. Anisha Vasandani (Engineer) and Nathan Heleine (Cofounder) both cut their teeth on frozen delights while helping to dish out dessert at their respective family ice cream parlors in Los Angeles and Nashville. So imagine the looks on our faces when Happy Cog called to ask if we would like to direct and produce a batch of handmade documentary shorts for the new Ben & Jerry's website.

A few weeks later, and with countless pints of Ben & Jerry's vanquished in the name of research, we hit the ground running in Burlington, Vermont to find out if the people behind Ben & Jerry's are as passionate as their products suggest. We quickly discovered that they are the real deal: one of the most fun, creative, and sincere groups of people on earth.

Caring Dairy Farm
Flavor Lab

Armed with two Canon C100 cameras, a backpack full of Zeiss compact primes, and a relentless sweet tooth, we hit every location we could cram into our two-week production schedule: Ben & Jerry's headquarters and factory, the R&D lab where new flavors are developed, the flagship Scoop Shop, family-owned dairy farms, the Burlington Pride Parade, a music festival on the shores of Lake Champlain, and wide swaths of America's closest cousin to Tolkien's Shire, also known as Vermont.

Once the shooting had wrapped, we boarded a plane back to NYC with a mountain of footage, cow manure on our tripods, and a few extra pounds to shed as a result of our continued ‘research.’

Milking at Caring Dairy Farm

In the months that followed, our editorial team (Kenneth Chu & Nathan Heleine) whittled down that mountain of footage into a focused selection of pieces: just under ten miniature documentaries (2-5 minutes each) exploring the story of Ben & Jerry's through their values, process, and culture, while extolling the fun spirit of the brand. As a fun side project, we even wrote a poem to explain why their Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream is not green:

Oh Mint Chocolate Cookie, why aren't you green?
Perhaps because green cream is so rarely seen?
Or is it that green hues can be disconcerting,
unless our desserts and our veggies start flirting?

I'm beginning to see that green scoops might taste odd,
like mouthwash or spinach or freshly mown sod.
So whatever the cause for your white disposition,
three scoops in my bowl will complete this rendition!

The team at Ben & Jerry's was hands on in the best of ways, because they cared immensely and trusted us to do good work. And our friends at Happy Cog were intimate collaborators every step of the way, particularly guiding us with regards to overall brand strategy and the nuanced relationships between content, design, and interaction.

Vermont Sunset

To provide a perfect topping for the project, Jerry Greenfield (yes, that Jerry) signed on to record the voiceover for one of the final pieces we produced. The piece is called “Happy” and its script, written by Nathan, represents our attempt to distill all the things we admire about Ben & Jerry's into a thirty-second commercial film.

Hi, it's Jerry from Ben & Jerry's and I've been wondering … what exactly does a happy cow look like? How about a happy vanilla bean? What is this happiness thing really about? Is it where you come from, or what you stand for, or who you know? Well, when it comes to making ice cream, happiness is all that and more. So we won't be happy until every possible ingredient in Ben & Jerry's is ethically sourced, non-GMO sourced, fair trade certified, and … happy.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

Meet the finished product