When a US superstar buys vegan chocolate at the organic supermarket
by Michael Stahl (comments: 0)
It is not uncommon for companies to have their products promoted by influencers on social media. The greater their reach on Instagram, Tiktok or YouTube, the more it usually costs the companies. The organic chocolate manufacturer Ecofinia (Vivani, Ichoc, Lacoa, Björnsted) has experienced that things can be different.
In a Denns store in Berlin, the US singer Billie Eilish buys chocolate from the vegan brand "iChoc" in March 2019 and posts a video from her tour bus on Instagram for her many millions of fans, including a prominent flash of the Ichoc bars. About a year later, the singer's management contacted the manufacturer from Herford in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Alexander Kuhlmann, marketing manager at Ecofinia, told the German magazine BioHandel what happened next.
Mr Kuhlmann, when did you first learn that US singer Billie Eilish is into your vegan Ichoc chocolate?
A fan of the singer brought an Instagram video to our attention in March 2019, in which Billie Eilish is carrying our chocolate around on the tour bus.
How did you react?
We put the video on our Ichoc Instagram channel and celebrated first.
And then what happened?
A little over a year later, Billie Eilish's management called. They wanted to know where in the USA our Ichoc chocolate could be bought.
What did you answer?
That the chocolate is unfortunately not available there, but that we would be happy to send Billie Eilish a large package. As a thank you for the Instagram video, so to speak. We did that and she was really happy about it.
That's how you got into the conversation.
Yes. Billie and we share a similar understanding of values. We are actively committed to sustainable living, promote a vegan lifestyle and all the values that go with it. That's how the idea came about to produce a limited edition, which was sold exclusively via Billie Eilish's online shop in the USA for Thanksgiving at the end of November.
What did this limited edition look like?
In consultation with Billie Eilish, we packed 3,200 bars of her favourite variety, the "iChoc Classic", in a new packaging design based on her current album "Happier than ever". A slogan that also goes well with chocolate (laughs). We then simply sent it to her.
Billie Eilish then baked cookies with your chocolate, made an Instagram story about it and linked it to Ichoc. What were the reactions like?
We noticed that people were very active on Instagram. In one fell swoop, we had around 5,000 more fans on our account and many enquiries about where to buy this special edition. Online shops all over Europe also wanted to know if they could list our chocolate. But as I said, it was only for the US market. We had no influence on that.
Ecofinia now sells its Ichoc chocolate in 30 countries worldwide. Are you now planning to enter the US market?
The USA is a difficult market because the conditions that have to be met there are completely different. The delivery routes are also not to be underestimated, especially at the moment in the Corona crisis, where there are already bottlenecks in freight trade everywhere. But in principle it would be a great thing for us to be represented in the USA at some point. It's a huge market with a large vegan community.
Does Billie Eilish actually follow your Instagram channel in the meantime?
Unfortunately not yet. I think that's part of the good manners when you're so well-known that you don't do that. But let's be surprised, maybe that will happen. We would be happy about that, of course.