Cornetto Hits a Sweet Spot in Turkish Social Marketing

In Turkey on August 5, 2011 by Sanibelle

Last week in DC, it was hot. As temperatures kept creeping into the 100s, weather records were breaking as easily as I was breaking a sweat. As a Midwesterner, I was alien to these climates (in Ohio, if the thermostat said 90, it was headline news). So, I tried to keep myself- especially my temper- cool by indulging in the classic summertime treat: ice cream.

In Turkey, summers are just as hot, but compared to the U.S. and Europe, the Turks don’t have the same cravings for this sweet treat. The amount of ice cream consumption is only 3.5 liters per person (in the states, the average person consumes 14 liters a year). In fact, the ice cream industry has suffered in Turkey. However, Unilever has steadily increased its market share, and Cornetto is the most popular brand in Turkey.

How did Cornetto succeed in Turkey against cultural and economic opposition? By stellar campaigns that engage their target audience. Grab a spoon and let’s dive in.

Interactive Mobile Campaign

In early 2011, mobile agency Mobilera and media agency Outeractive were awarded the Best Mobile Advertising & Marketing Campaign award in 16th Annual Global Mobile Awards for their pacman-style mobile Cornetto campaign. Watch the video below:

Sweet and Satisfying (What Worked): This campaign was simple, creative and attention-grabbing. Many players could participate simultaneously, and it didn’t require advanced or smartphone technology: anyone could participate by punching numbers on their phone. Most importantly, it showed the Cornetto realized the mobile-savvy trends of their young adult audience, and acted quickly to engage new customers.

Starting to Melt (How Cornetto Could Improve): The stunt was held for a few days in Beyoglu, the Times Square of Istanbul, and made a big media splash. However, the attention was short-lived. To keep momentum, I would have created a version of the game online, and encouraged sharing through social media channels, especially since Turkey has one of the most engaged internet audiences in the world. They had to the potential to quickly spread the game’s influence across the country, not just to those who happened to be in Beyoglu.

Ongoing Digital Campaign

            Last year, Unilever launched Cornetto Enigma: a product that combines ice cream with a core of fruit, chocolate or nutty sauce, with a multimedia ad campaign. With the tagline, “try the irresistible soft side” it uses feel-good creative humor to appeal to its younger audience.

Here’s one of the most popular ads:

Sweet and Satisfying (What Worked): In this campaign, Cornetto has exhausted all of its social media channels (especially with Facebook and Twitter). They have also taken the campaign outdoors, by creating the “world’s first outdoor 3D body controlled advergame,” based on the teddy bear character. Cornetto has been positioning itself in Turkey as “the official ice-cream of love,” but needed to become “cool” with its younger audience. I think they have done an awesome job of engaging their target audience, coming up with a deliciously fun campaign, and creating digital channels for their consumers to interact and share with each other.

Starting to Melt (How Cornetto Could Improve): The “official ice cream of love” has been a pan-European campaign, but I would like to see Cornetto start to localize their efforts. The interactive game in Beyoglu was a good start, but to take this campaign to the next level, they could feature more Turkish locals in their channels. For example, to encourage two-way content creation, they could have a contest where Turkish locals could submit their own love stories.


As a brand, Cornetto has created fun and engaging digital campaigns that have had Turkish mouths watering. While they could improve some of their social media strategies, they’re a leader in the consumer market, and other brands seeking to establish a presence in Turkey should follow their lead. Now, please excuse me as I find the nearest corner vendor. All of this blogging is giving me one killer ice cream craving.

One Response to “Cornetto Hits a Sweet Spot in Turkish Social Marketing”

  1. I think I have a Cornetto craving too … especially as I used to be a big fan when I was living in Australia and it was readily available everywhere you went! You do a nice job of finding a few different campaigns for this brand in Turkey and imagining how they might better use social media to augment their efforts. Apart from your slightly strange choice of terms to “grab a spoon and dive in” when I can’t imagine anyone eating a Cornetto ice cream cone with a spoon … this was a nicely written post and good suggestions for what else Unilever might have done with these campaigns to use social media as a greater part of their efforts. (5)

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