Published on March 12th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Carvel Ice Cream’s Nicolle DuBose & Scott Colwell On Carvel’s Past, Present & Very Bright Future
Started up by Tom Carvel via a New York ice cream truck in 1929, Carvel Ice Cream is known to offer “America’s Freshest Ice Cream.” Now based in Atlanta with over 400 locations — beyond its store-sold treats — Carvel still offers its famous Fudgie The Whale and Cookie Puss ice cream cakes, while still keeping current with its Thick Shakes, Carvelanches, and Sundae Dashers. For me personally, as a New Yorker, the Carvel brand has always been a part of my life not only because of that always-satisfying ice cream, but also because of Carvel’s random appearances in forward-thinking pop culture.
On behalf of The Hype Magazine, I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with two executives from Carvel. Nicolle DuBose is the company’s Director of Marketing, while Scott Colwell serves as Carvel’s President. More on the legendary 89-year old brand can be found online at www.carvel.com.
To me, no birthday party is complete without a Carvel-style ice cream cake as it was a big part of my Long Island childhood. What was your first exposure to the Carvel brand?
Nicolle DuBose: Carvel Ice Cream cakes were my first taste of heaven. My childhood friend introduced me to them — we had one every birthday. I can tell you, the crunchies were key because there wasn’t any other ice cream brand with crunchies like Carvel’s.
Scott Colwell: I was first exposed to Carvel as a young adult while visiting friends in Long Island. I was treated to a Fudgie The Whale cake and it has been a favorite of mine ever since.
The Beastie Boys’ first single was “Cooky Puss,” a tribute of sorts to the Cookie Puss cake of Carvel. Have you ever heard that recording discussed around the office?
Nicolle DuBose: Oh, for sure. As a marketer, you always hope your consumers experience ultimate fandom. We hear stories and experiences about the brand quite a bit. When it’s the Beastie Boys naming a song after one of our quirky characters, what can we say? It’s better than running a TV campaign. That’s the really fun part about the brand-people have such an emotional connection.
Carvel has also received homages from Howard Stern, The Rock, Saturday Night Live, Family Guy and plenty of other high-profile people over the years. Is there a specific endorsement that you have enjoyed?
Nicolle DuBose: Gosh, there’s so many we love. I’d have to say Kelly Ripa stands out as my favorite. She loves Fudgie The Whale cakes and talks about it with such passion. We like to gift her a Fudgie for her birthday every year. I love seeing her light up like a kid every single time. It just never gets old.
What is your favorite item on the Carvel menu?
Nicolle DuBose: A thick Chocolate Shake. Everything is so good, but that product lights up my world.
Scott Colwell: So tough to answer because I love all ice cream from Carvel. But if I have to choose one item, it is our vanilla soft ice cream. I love how sweet and creamy it is. I always want to go back for more.
How did you become part of the Carvel team?
Nicolle DuBose: I actually worked on the international division where we have Carvel overseas. That got my foot in the door with the Carvel domestic team and I’ve been full speed ahead ever since.
Scott Colwell: I joined Carvel in 2012 as their President. It was a dream come true as I’d competed against Carvel for over 20 of my career when I was VP of Marketing for Friendly Ice Cream and Global Marketing Officer for Baskin-Robbins. I knew just how special this iconic brand is and it has been an honor to be on the Carvel team.
What is a typical day like for you at the office?
Nicolle DuBose: It’s kind of like sprinkles on top of ice cream. We get to dabble in so many things so it’s never boring. We may be trying new products with our chef in the test kitchen one minute, working on our next social campaign with our in-house agency the next minute and rounding out the day hosting a planning session with our franchisee advisory council. We have a great team, along with our extended agency partnerships. We work hard, but we laugh a lot too — especially when we see Fudgie The Whale dancing with a Cookie Puss cake in the office.
What is coming up for Carvel as a brand?
Nicolle DuBose: We’re taking the experience of celebration to the next level. If I were to describe it as layers of an ice cream sundae, these would be the ingredients: technology, new cakes and take-home treats, additional soft and scooped flavors, and shared experiences and events in our shops and social platforms. Our goal continues to be making people smile and connecting our product with a heartfelt celebration, big and small.
When not busy with Carvel, how do you like to spend your free time?
Nicolle DuBose: Going to the beach to see my family, biking or walking my French bulldog and reading a great book.
Scott Colwell: I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors hiking, biking, swimming, skiing or anything in the fresh air.
Finally, Scott and Nicolle, any last words for the kids?
Nicolle DuBose: We never get tired of hearing from our customers. Got an idea for the next flavor or Carvel character? Send it to us!
Scott Colwell: There is no greater joy than seeing the smile on faces of kids digging into a Carvel Ice Cream treat! This is why Carvel exists -– to put a smile on every face!