30 Mill Street
Arlington, Massachusetts 02476
Telephone: (781) 648-9000
Fax: (781) 646-0507
Web site: www.brighams.com
At the beginning of the twenty-first century Brigham's, Inc., well known in New England for its ice cream and restaurants, looked to expand its product line to include the kinds of chunky ice cream flavors (with products such as candy bars mixed in) made popular by Ben & Jerry's. The first attempt was a flavor called "The Big Dig," but three years passed before the company was ready for a second launch. In 2003, as part of a 90th-anniversary promotion, Brigham's sponsored a contest to name a new flavor. The winning entry, revealed in April 2004, was "Reverse the Curse." The name was a reference to the supposed curse on the Boston Red Sox baseball team, which had not won the World Series since trading the legendary Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.
The campaign to introduce the new flavor operated on a modest $250,000 budget and ran from April through late October 2004. It consisted of radio spots announced by a Red Sox player, print ads, a billboard, and in-store posters. The crux of the campaign, however, was a series of promotional events, which garnered a great deal of free media because the New England region that year was fascinated more than ever by the exploits of the Red Sox and anything associated with the club.
To the delight of Brigham's, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, and the curse was lifted. The ice cream was then renamed "Curse Reversed." As a result of good fortune and strong marketing work, which was recognized by the dairy industry, Reverse the Curse became Brigham's most successful product launch.
Brigham's was a well-entrenched New England brand at the start of the twenty-first century. The company was known both for its chain of restaurants, which had served Brigham's-brand ice cream for decades, and for its premium supermarket ice cream, which debuted in 1983. At its peak in the mid-1980s Brigham's operated more than 100 restaurants, but prepacked supermarket ice cream increasingly became its main source of revenue. In addition, the Élan brand of frozen yogurt was acquired to bring the company in line with the tastes of modern consumers. More importantly, Roger Theriault, appointed CEO of Brigham's in the mid-1990s, was able to complete the turnaround and transform the company from one that was merely holding its own into one that was actually profitable.
Brigham's best-selling flavor of ice cream—and one that was very much a New England tradition—was vanilla; it accounted for about one-third of all sales. While Brigham's Vanilla Ice Cream remained a favorite, the marketplace since the mid-1980s had seen an influx of ice creams that came in flavors with unusual
ingredients mixed in, a trend that was first popularized by the Vermont-based company Ben & Jerry's. To stay current Brigham's introduced Big Dig, a vanilla ice cream with brownie pieces, caramel swirls, and chocolate chunks mixed in; the name played on the nickname of Boston's long-term Central Artery highway project. The flavor enjoyed a successful launch, but Brigham's did not follow up with any new flavors, instead turning its attention to ice cream bars and the expansion of its geographic reach.
In fall 2003 the company was approaching its 90th birthday, and it commemorated the occasion by holding a contest to concoct and name a new ice cream flavor. A large number of entries paid tribute to the Boston Red Sox, New England's highly popular Major League Baseball team. It was also no surprise...