Van Leeuwen

From its humble beginnings as a food truck in 2008, Van Leeuwen has grown into a beloved brand with national reach. Its vegan and dairy ice cream can be found in grocery stores and retail shops in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Houston.

Overview

When Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen and Laura O’Neill opened their yellow scoop truck on the streets of New York City in 2008, their goal was simple: to provide good ice cream made from good ingredients. What began as a knockout dairy recipe has evolved into non-dairy variations like cashew- and vegan-milk ice creams.
Van Leeuwen now operates 23 scoop shops, sells its pints and ice cream bars in grocery stores across the country, and ships its products nationwide. As the company continues to grow, its mission remains the same: to create delicious ice creams using quality ingredients, simple recipes, and zero junk.

The Challenge

Van Leeuwen partnered with Integrate in the grand opening of two new Houston locations in Rice Village and Uptown Park. The challenge was to immerse Van Leeuwen in the local community, familiarize Houstonians with the brand, and generate excitement about the company’s offerings.

The Approach

With limited brand awareness among Houston consumers, our objectives included executing successful grand openings, creating sustained excitement thereafter for existing and new Houston locations, and earning media coverage in major local and national publications. We knew Houston would welcome Van Leeuwen’s vibe and offerings, so we decided to collaborate with local organizations and influencers to boost awareness and excitement.

The Execution

We worked with Houston groups and influencers such as West U Little League, Houston Hotspots, and ItsNotHouItsMe to coordinate pop-up events around the city, thereby increasing Van Leeuwen’s exposure and generating interest around the city. Our PR team distributed press releases and media alerts for both grand openings to local media and broadcast stations and collaborated with social media influencers.

The Results

We were thrilled with the results of our efforts for Van Leeuwen. The Rice Village location was featured in 17 media outlets, received 9,449,919 impressions, partnered with 12 local influencers, executed 9 community events, and on opening day, served up 1,600 scoops of ice cream. 

The Uptown Park location saw equally impressive numbers. We secured 10 media placements, 4,964,110 impressions, and 10 influencer collaborations to help spread the word about Van Leeuwen. On the Uptown Park location’s opening day, the company sold 1,319 scoops. Prior to the Uptown Park opening, we secured an exclusive CultureMap interview with Ben Van Leeuwen highlighting the Horchata flavor collab between Van Leeuwen and Houston’s own Chef Hugo.

Takeaways

The numbers above quantify the creativity and enthusiasm we brought to the grand opening projects. Through the combined efforts of our PR and digital advertising teams, we established Van Leeuwen as an innovative contributor to the Houston food scene.