Lindy’s Italian Ice was a quality product with 20 years of history which had grown nationally but remained a distant second to the better-funded category leader, Luigi’s. They were the classic “Challenger Brand.” At the time, Frozen Food Category Managers were unenthused about the Italian ice segment due to flat sales, and questioned the necessity of stocking more than just the leading brand.
Our Insights team found that there was a great deal of consumer passion for Italian Ice that hadn’t been captured by any of the Grocery brands. Consumers perceived that the fond memories and emotional pull connecting the product to summer vacations, boardwalks and the beach was missing. There was also some confusion between the two leading brands, with similar names, excessive price promotion and very uninspired packaging. This was a commodity category waiting for a brand with emotional pull.
We identified their key growth driver as velocity: using a new look to capture attention, drive base volume, diverge from the category leader and gain new or improved shelf placements.
We identified ways to stand out, distancing Lindy’s from the competition. We looked at everything, from the cup and package design to the flavors, messaging and, of course, ways to infuse the revitalized brand with nostalgia and emotion. Our strategy was to “de-commodify” the category by introducing a compelling, story-driven brand.
Having Italian Ice takes you back. As a kid, people loved getting Italian Ice on the boardwalk or on the corner or even at an amusement park. But those weren’t everyday occurences and since no one lives in an amusement park, we make Lindy’s Homemade Italian Ice.
People don’t have to walk the Williamsburg Bridge to get some or even trudge down to South Philly. All they have to do is open their freezer and, ayyyy, they’re enjoying street cart-style Italian Ice.
Using the nostalgic icon of the cart as our focus, we created a simple but contemporary feel for the packaging and cup. This improved shelf presence and distanced us from the competition and the whole Frozen Novelties set. Our new box featured two sides, a tall and short front, to allow grocers to optimize space, thereby getting 33% more Lindy’s in the same shelf space as the old design.
After re-branding, Lindy’s saw 72% growth in dollar sales and averaged 52% over the first two years (in a category that was only growing at 6%). Grocers now regard Lindy’s as a growth engine driving 90%+ of the growth in the entire subcategory. Lindy’s velocity has skyrocketed as it now outsells the category leader by $240k per point of ACV.