While most ice-cream brands stick to names like vanilla, strawberry, and mint-chocolate chip, Ben & Jerry's has always been unique in offering fresh flavors with original names, like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey. Consumers, however, are questioning if Ben & Jerry's has pushed their off-beat character too far with their newest addition to the flavor factory: Schweddy Balls.
Schweddy Balls, a vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum, loaded with fudge covered rum and malt balls, is a tribute to the classic Saturday Night Live sketch where Alec Baldwin, as Pete Schweddy, proclaims, The thing I like to bring out this time of year are my balls... Over at 'Season's Eatings' we have balls for every taste -- Popcornballs, Cheeseballs, Gumballs, you name it --... The skit proceeds into a clear double-entendre about Baldwin's balls that ends with him proclaiming, No one can resist my Schweddy balls.
The Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls limited-edition flavor has been released in time for the holiday season, but has sparked controversy from consumer groups and supermarkets alike. Some grocery store chains have refused to carry the flavor and members of the Mississippi-based group, One Million Moms, are offended by the double-entendre.
We haven't received any complaints that we're not carrying that flavor. However, if we do get feedback from customers that they want it, we'll certainly revisit the decision, Suzi Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Quincy, Mass. based Stop & Shop chain told The Associated Press. She refused to talk about the reason for not carrying the flavor, but assured The AP that Stop & Shop has a strong relationship with Ben & Jerry's.
Ben & Jerry's spokesman, Sean Greenwood, told The AP Thursday that Schweddy Balls has become one of the hottest selling limited-edition flavors the company has ever produced.
We've heard from lots of folks who are fans of the flavor, Greenwood said. Yes, some supermarket chains decided not to carry Schweddy Balls. That is true, possibly because they found the name too irreverent. We respect their decision.
The One Million Moms organization is very offended by the crude name and is worried the names might get worse.
The vulgar new flavor has turned something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive. Not exactly what you want a child asking for at the supermarket, the organization's website says.
In the past, Ben & Jerry's has released controversial ice creams, like a special edition of Chubby Hubby called Hubby Hubby last year, which celebrated gay marriage. It seems that offending customers has become an annual tradition for Ben & Jerry's, the website's statement continues.
Ben & Jerry's has sparked controversy in more ways than one. Their progressive agenda is evident in the company's pride in supporting social, product and economic progress from ice-cream names to endorsing social movements.The company has also made some consumers shy away when it took a stand in supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors released a press release stating, To those who Occupy: We stand with you. The company notes some of the key problems with the country today including: a clear inequity between classes in our contry [that] is simply immoral, many workers who have jobs have to work 2 or 3 of them just to scrape by and corporations are permitted to spend unlimited resources to influence elections while stockpiling a trillion dollars rather than hiring people.
Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors continues, We have provided support to citizens' efforts to rein in corporate money in politics, we pay a livable wage to our employees, we directly support family farms and we are working to source fairly traded ingredients for all our products. But we realize that Occupy Wall Street is calling for systemic change. We support this call to action and are honored to join you in this call to take back our nation and democracy.
From controversial ice-cream names like Schweddy Balls, to their decision to support Occupy Wall Street, Ben & Jerry's move towards a more progessive agenda seems clear. It remains to be seen how their interests will affect their corporate image and if consumers will turn to more traditional brands like Haagen-Dazs or Edy's.
Still, not all consumers seem to be up in arms. The AP reports that some families are excited to try the new flavor despite its somewhat racy name.
I get it, I know 'Saturday Night Live' isn't geared toward a 10-year-old, but they know when Justin Timberlake is on, Ragusa, 44, whose family, including a 14-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl, has the Schweddy balls skit on a DVD of Baldwin's greatest SNL appearances, told The AP.
We just think it's funny, that's all, she said, and honestly we all really want to try it.
Watch the Schweddy Balls Skit from Saturday Night Live: