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Häagen-Dazs pop-up bar opens in Toronto

Month-long activation samples new line and looks to court millennials

Just after introducing a new line of alcohol infused Häagen-Dazs ice creams to grocery stores across Canada, Nestlé has opened the doors on a month-long pop-up shop in downtown Toronto.

While Bär Häagen-Dazs will serve a variety of the brand’s classic flavours, the new Spirits collection—Irish Cream Coffee & Biscotti, Rum Vanilla Caramel Blondie, Whiskey Chocolate Truffle, Rum Ginger Cookie and Vodka Key Lime Pie—will be prominent throughout the pop-up experience, which runs until July 22.

Visitors can try five different ice cream flights—presented on gold spoons and pieces of wood—and learn about the flavours and pairings, before deciding on a full-sized portion of their favourite served with macarons and gold dust. Or else, a henna artist can decorate a Häagen-Dazs bar with gold icing and gold dust with personalized messages.

Each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening the store will convert to a legal-drinking-age only bar, serving cocktails made with Häagen-Dazs ice cream and with local DJs performing.

The pop-up—in one of Toronto’s hipper social clubs, in the middle of the trendy King West neighbourhood—and supporting marketing communications are designed to reach young adult consumers, said Paul De Larzac, marketing director for Häagen-Dazs at Nestlé Canada.

The super-premium brand has high awareness and is well-entrenched with baby boomers and Gen X, he said. “What we found we are missing, or an opportunity where we could do better, is being relevant to millennials,” he said. “It is a step on our journey to modernize the brand.”

The supporting communications, for example are digital only with an emphasis on social channels Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. The entire pop-up experience, from the visual esthetics to the ice cream serving and theme of “passion,” was designed to generate lots of social sharing.

“We really curated the space to look modern and embody that luxury that the brand is,” said De Larzac. “We find the space very Instagrammable.”

The Spirits line, which contains 1% alcohol, launched in early March and is available nationally now in Häagen-Dazs traditional 473 ml format. It is a made-in-Canada innovation, only available here and is being produced at the company’s London, Ont. manufacturing facility.

“I think what we are seeing was a trend in North America about alcohol and food coming together, and alcohol and desserts coming together and we wanted to be on the early-adopter stage for that trend,” said De Larzac. “We wanted to position Häagen-Dazs as more modern and appeal to a crowd of consumers looking for the latest trends.”

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