Friday, May 13, 2011

What Charlie Sheen & I Don’t Have in Common


I submitted an application for consideration to serve on Ben & Jerry’s Millennial Advisory Panel. The first of its kind, those chosen for the panel will be flown out to Vermont for a week, write and respond to Ben & Jerry’s queries about products and product ideas, have someone from Ben & Jerry’s shadow them for a day and be given 52 free pint coupons to use throughout the year. I felt that within a two month time span—submissions were accepted between February 4 and April 8—there couldn’t possibly be twenty American 20-somethings more qualified than me. Apparently, I was wrong. But no hard feelings, Ben. I'm sure we’ll meet someday, Jerry.

The application included five written answers and a video. Here are excerpts from my responses:

Video: Showcasing your creativity, share one strength of the Ben & Jerry’s brand and three things they could improve.My video is awkward, strange and humorous. You should watch it, though, because of the end when I sing a song I wrote that strings together 24 Ben & Jerry’s flavor names while paying homage to both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Hallelujah chorus.

#1: Summarize your life in 140 characters or less.
Superpowers include: clowning in burlesque shows, playing acoustic punk rock and teaching creative writing workshops for kids about zombies.

#2: Share your coolest discovery from the past 6 months.For this answer, I edited down the tale of learning the secret ingredient to authentic Belgian waffles.

#3: Share your life passion.
Growing up, I was given many opportunities; I feel I could pay this forward for the rest of my life. For this answer, I wrote about my volunteer efforts at 826 CHI and Barrel of Monkeys.

#4: Another brand you admire.
What impresses me more than anything about California Pizza Kitchen is that people of different economic classes are always eating there: three-piece suits have business lunches while jeans-and-polo parents wrangle their toddlers. What makes this possible is their simple model: American fusion cuisine meets pizza joint.

#5: What excites you about this opportunity?
All I really needed to know I learned from ice cream.

Growing up, eating ice cream was mostly reserved for celebrations. Then my dad started buying half-gallons of ice cream he found on sale. It was exciting, eating this frozen delicacy “just because.” Today, when I offer high-end ice cream to friends, neighbors and people I’ve just met—I’m not kidding—I can tell that between birthday parties ice cream gets forgotten. It seems strange that, as much as everyone enjoys ice cream, so many eat it only on rare occasions. I am known for my ice cream evangelism. When I call friends to meet up, they suggest going for ice cream. I can almost hear them smiling because, in their Pavlovian minds, when I am around ice cream is consumed.

And what a wonderful gift to share! Ice cream brings out the best in people. When a group of people eat ice cream together the conversation stays pretty positive. Try to imagine someone eating ice cream angrily. Absurd, isn’t it?

In my mind, ice cream gives people a reason to celebrate during a regular day. I feel serving on the Millennial Advisory Panel will make this celebration even more widespread.


Brian said...

While I think 99% of this is absolutely brilliant, you made one fatal flaw. The very name "Milk And Cookies" makes you think of mom, baseball, and America. And you desecrated this flavor with an outrrrrageous French accent! Shame, Brad, shame.

Brad said...

A solid criticism. I forgot they had Crème Brûlée! That would have been a far better Ben & (Alfred) Jarry's flavor for a French accent.