Ben & Jerry’s Takes a Stand, Refuses to Rename New Flavor


Many of us in the PRNewserverse heart Ben & Jerry’s for many reasons.

The ice cream is the absolute shiznit. The culture they exhibit in branding and social media is contagious. How can one not adore flavors like “Cherry Garcia,” “Phish Food,” and “Half Baked?”

We paid homage to the hippie lettuce trend when B&J surreptitiously supported the legalizing of cannabis, because someone in the company’s marketing/PR department gets it.

Ben & Jerry’s may have a light-hearted approach to publicity, but the company can step outside the hookah lounge long enough to get serious, too.

Let’s get this out of the way: Bullies suck out loud and hazing of any type is inane, pre-pubescent angst cloaked in “becoming one of the team.” (And yes, I was Greek in a world of higher education.)

Last month, Lianne and Brian Kowiak of Tampa, Florida, whose son, Harrison, was killed in 2008 while pledging a fraternity, asked that the company change the name of its new flavor “Hazed and Confused.”

ben jerrys hazed confused core pint 2014The name is a double reference to the ice cream’s hazelnut flavor and the classic Zeppelin stoner jam “Dazed and Confused“, but the Kowiaks saw more to it.

To its credit, the Ben & Jerry company promised to look into the matter and released this statement (via Bloomberg): 

The company found nothing in its marketing for the chocolate and hazelnut flavor that “condoned hazing, supported hazing, or even inferred hazing,” said Sean Greenwood, a spokesman for the South Burlington, Vermont-based company, which is owned by Unilever NV. (UNA) Executives also took into account that Internet responses were mostly favorable, he said.

“It didn’t make sense for us to change the name,” Greenwood said. “We named it because it’s a pop culture reference.”

The name of the flavor, which includes fudge chips and a hazelnut fudge core, was a play on “dazed and confused,” the company has said. That phrase was made famous by a Led Zeppelin song and a 1993 coming-of-age film comedy.

Is this not a proper response to grieving parents who may have read a bit too much into the new name?