How Dippin’ Dots Turned a Frosty Crisis with WH Secretary Sean Spicer into Social Media Gold

Since 2010, Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary has held a public grudge against Dippin’ Dots, originally known to many as “the ice cream of the future.” He has disparaged the company on social media with his tweets over the years, and was angry when they ran out of his favorite flavor (vanilla) at the Nationals game in 2015.

Over the weekend, an article by the AV Club dug up the old tweets – and the internet followed suit. Before long, Sean Spicer and Dippin’ Dots were both trending across social media, and customers and the media at large wanted to know how the company would respond.

Here’s the story of what happened behind the scenes, and what every brand can learn from this experience. In truth, every brand in the digital age faces what Dippin’ Dots did– an opportunity to turn critics into champions and win over customers (…and the internet), one tweet at a time.

My company, The Marketing Zen Group, is the social media agency of record for Dippin’ Dots. Over the weekend, we listened and watched as old tweets became a new point of contention on social media. Before the workday even began Monday morning, we had a call with the internal team at Dippin’ Dots and another partner agency. A strategy was created and deployed by noon the same day. The strategy entailed posting an open letter from the CEO, Scott Fischer to Sean Spicer. It was posted on the company website and a series of social media posts were crafted to help share the link.

It worked. By the end of the day, that strategy resulted in over a dozen tier 1 media articles from CNN to NPR to the Washington Post, and well over ten million views. As of writing this piece, less than 24 hours after that initial call, Sean Spicer and Dippin’ Dots are both trending topics on Facebook. By any stretch of the imagination, this is what we in the industry would call a successful campaign.

Here are the best practices distilled from this campaign that we led –