Q&A with WheyHey Ice Cream's Damien Kennedy

We sat down with Damien Kennedy, co-founder of protein ice cream brand, WheyHey! Read on for a story about an unusual concept done right: 

We know that WheyHey! ice cream is full of goodness: it's marketed as a 'truly healthy' protein-rich ice cream. But what sounds like a good idea was met with some resistance, we hear.

What was it like meeting manufacturers and how did WheyHey! manage to push the idea forward?

The Ice cream world is full of traditionalists. To them ice cream is indulgent, rich and calorific. Sugar is a key ingredient in ‘traditional’ ice cream and that’s simply because it is cheap and tasty.  

We were met with opposition when approaching these traditional ice cream manufacturers because they didn’t see the potential of a protein-rich, sugar-free and low-calorie ice cream. We managed to push the idea forward quite simply through perseverance and making the them believe in the dream!

A photo posted by Wheyhey! (@wheyheyofficial) on

What has been the general response to WheyHey! from the 18-25 year old market? Is this your target demographic, or is it a lot broader?

The beauty of WheyHey! is that there isn’t really an audience the product doesn’t appeal to. But when it comes to our marketing strategy we focus on 18-34 year old market simply because they are the most influential market. 

We've built up a significant rapport with the 18-25 year old market mainly through the use of social media - we are incredibly interactive and believe in organically managing our platforms.

With an engaging Twitter presence and a prolific celebrity face (hello David Gandy), we wanted to ask you guys your three most useful social media strategies.

  1. When interacting with fans or consumers always speak from the point of view of the brand.  Always 'we' instead of I.
  2. Making sure that all messages, tweets, Instagram tags etc. get an answer.  Not just a template response, but a personalised and unique message to the customer.  This gives them a real sense of inclusion,  and makes them feel like they are being heard. Creating a personal link draws the consumer further into the brand.
  3. Create unique content for each social media platform.  Many brands/companies will post the same content across all of their social media channels, even when it's not a good fit for that particular audience.  Working out what content works on what platform will mean that you can drive engagement whilst also encouraging the consumer to explore and discover other areas of your brand.

What has been your favourite ice cream or food-related marketing campaign of 2015?

There have been some excellent marketing campaigns over the last year. One of our favourites was actually from the drinks industry - Fever Trees' ‘if ¾ of your Gin and Tonics is Tonic, mix with the best’ campaign was fantastic. Their message was clear, concise and simple. Something that works so well in marketing.

What has been Wheyhey's biggest marketing challenge?

I think for us our biggest marketing challenge has been overcoming the perception some people have of protein. There is a slight misunderstanding when it comes to protein; often people associate a protein product with the body-building world, which is completely incorrect.

Second to water, protein is the most abundant component of the human body. Protein is vital to our lives; it helps maintain healthy muscles and bones! However, this stigma has massively decreased as living a healthy active lifestyle is now normal.

And finally some fun questions:

What’s been the best moment of your career so far?

Building the Wheyhey! family to what it is today.

Favourite app? Why?

Instagram! I love showing what we get up to on a daily basis, from the Friday table tennis championships to the sights of London.

Something few people know about you?

I’m a dab hand on the dance floor – well the Irish dance floor. People don’t call me Michael Flatly for nothing.

WheyHey! Ice Cream is an event partner for Voxburner's latest event, Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016.

To find out more about WheyHey!, head over to the WheyHey! website.

Haven't gotten your tickets for YMS LDN 2016 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.