2006-11-13

Bananas Foster vs. "Bananas on the Rum"

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

November 12, 2006

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.,
30 Community Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403

Dear Flavor Development Department:

I was a recent participant in your “Do Us a Flavor” Contest, and I would like to extend my congratulations to winner Tasha Callister, and the other four finalists for their wonderful flavor suggestions. However, I am writing to you today about my flavor submission: New Orleans Bananas Foster.

I submitted my flavor suggestion on your website on March 31, 2006. I saved the entry image (pictured below) so I could recall my submission. My flavor suggestion consisted of a “Butter Rum ice cream, with banana chunks and cinnamon, plus a banana liqueur and brown sugar swirl.” I also suggested that a portion of the profits go to Gulf region Hurricane recovery efforts.



Imagine how amazed I was, therefore, to find in a local scoop shop, a new flavor called “Bananas on the Rum.” Your new flavor is a “Banana ice cream with a buttery rum brown sugar swirl”. I asked your scoop staffer on duty when the flavor was introduced, and they told me late spring.

Now I understand that somewhere in your contest rules (which are no longer online) it likely suggests that all submissions become property of Ben & Jerry’s. However, if my flavor was good enough to be put into almost immediate production (with some minor variations) I would like to think I would have been considered a finalist.

Also, I hope the suggestion that a portion of the profits be given to hurricane relief did not affect my entry. I realize that Ben & Jerry’s, under the Unilever umbrella, is not quite the same grass-roots, socially forward organization it once was (I was disappointed to see the last “annual” Social and Environmental Assessment on your website was dated 2004), but I also recognize that your “better world” efforts, while still very honorable, need to be concentrated on a few select programs.

Lastly, it is possible this is pure coincidence, but one which seems hard to believe. I do thank you for considering my concerns, as a contest participant, Vermonter and stockholder, and I hope you continue to offer opportunity for consumer participation in your products.

Sincerely,
MapleMama

cc: http://maplemama.com

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

MapleMama... I came across your website when surfing the web this morning. I saw your post about Bananas on the Rum... which happens to be the most popular flavor in my Ben & Jerry's scoop shop based outside of Dallas, Texas. I saw the date of your submission, so I checked my own records.

I show that we already ordered 3 bulk tubs for our store on February 14, 2006 and it was not a new flavor on that date as we were gearing up for two other new flavors - Baklava and American Pie for a March launch.

Had this been available to me in February, it would have likely been developed and tested long before that and finally presented as an option to the Franchise Advisory Committee at least 3 months prior to ordering availability.

Also, I know that they introduced the flavor to the general franchise community at our franchise gathering in the first week of January in San Diego. I remember it because there was a spoofed clip of Paul McCartney on the screen singing Bananas on the Rum rather than Band on the Run.

So, it seems that your flavor actually was a coincidence as Bananas on the Rum was released to the scoop shops sometime in the January - February 2006 timeframe and your submission wasn't until March.

On the other hand, your flavor is a winner. Bananas on the Rum is the top flavor in my store. I also love the idea of donating a portion of the proceeds to hurricane relief.

Keep the ideas coming!

..Hunter Rose
Ice Cream Czar
Ben & Jerry's Dallas, TX Area Developer

Anonymous said...

MapleMama... I came across your website when surfing the web this morning. I saw your post about Bananas on the Rum... which happens to be the most popular flavor in my Ben & Jerry's scoop shop based outside of Dallas, Texas. I saw the date of your submission, so I checked my own records.

I show that we already ordered 3 bulk tubs for our store on February 14, 2006 and it was not a new flavor on that date as we were gearing up for two other new flavors - Baklava and American Pie for a March launch.

Had this been available to me in February, it would have likely been developed and tested long before that and finally presented as an option to the Franchise Advisory Committee at least 3 months prior to ordering availability.

Also, I know that they introduced the flavor to the general franchise community at our franchise gathering in the first week of January in San Diego. I remember it because there was a spoofed clip of Paul McCartney on the screen singing Bananas on the Rum rather than Band on the Run.

So, it seems that your flavor actually was a coincidence as Bananas on the Rum was released to the scoop shops sometime in the January - February 2006 timeframe and your submission wasn't until March.

On the other hand, your flavor is a winner. Bananas on the Rum is the top flavor in my store. I also love the idea of donating a portion of the proceeds to hurricane relief.

Keep the ideas coming!

..Hunter Rose
Ice Cream Czar
Ben & Jerry's Dallas, TX Area Developer

Bernie RA said...

Here's the link-

http://www.benjerry.com/scoop_shops/dousaflavor/rules.cfm

The low points:

Section 7: # Ownership and Use of Entries: All entries (both winning and non-winning) become the sole property of Sponsor and will not be returned. By entering this Contest, you hereby grant Sponsor and its agents the perpetual worldwide gratis right (without obligation) to reproduce, publish, use, edit, adapt and/or modify such entry, in any way, in any and all media, without limitation and without compensation to entrant. Submission further constitutes entrant’s assignment and transfer to Sponsor of any and all rights, title and interest in the entry, without limitation, including all copyrights and trademark rights and waiver of all moral rights. Entrant warrants and represents that their entry is original and does not infringe the rights of any third party and hereby agrees not to instigate, support, maintain or authorize any action, claim or lawsuit against Sponsor or its affiliates, or any other person, on the grounds that any use of the entry, or any derivative works infringe any of entrant’s rights as creator of the entry, including, without limitation, trademark rights, copyrights and moral rights or “droit moral.” All elements of all entries, including all United States and international copyrights and all other intellectual property rights in the entries, shall be owned exclusively by Sponsor. Nothing herein shall constitute an employment, joint venture, or partnership relationship between entrant and Sponsor. In no way is entrant to be construed as the agent or to be acting as the agent of Sponsor in any respect.

BTW- your flavor rocks on all those loser flavors, although I like "Wackie Chan" of all of them. Ritz crackers? GMAFB!

MapleMama said...

Thank you Hunter for the info. I see it in indeed a pure coincidence. But I am glad to hear the flavor is doing well. I've actually yet to try it!

And Bernie - thanks for the info, too - and I agree. What's up with ritz crackers?! :)

Sierra Sedan said...

First of all - very cool - someone actually got back to you from B&J.

Secondly - apparently great minds think alike and you should be developing ice cream flavors for a living. :)

Thirdly - crackers of any type should not be in ice cream. That's like fruit being considered a dessert. :)

And last but not least - Baklava - I have not seen that flavor up here and why not?!?

Vinny said...

Sierra- fruit can most certainly be a dessert. You missed it on that one.

Please don't rain on my "sometimes I want something sweet without a bazillion calories that will further increase my middle age mid-section sprawl" parade.

Love ya both!