Ice Cream Man (business)
Ice Cream Man is a business entity whose stated goal is to give away 500,000 free units of ice cream throughout the United States. Since its founding in 2004, Ice Cream Man has given away approximately 300,000 units of ice cream. In the process the organization has become a fixture at music festivals across the United States. As of November 2010, Ice Cream Man has over 100 volunteers committed to the idea of free ice cream for all.
Ice Cream Man was founded by Barry Allen (aka Ice Cream Man/Flash), a resident of Long Beach, California. In the summer of 2004 Allen purchased a 1969 Chevrolet Step-Van in order to work as an ice cream man in Ashland, Oregon. At the end of the summer he decided to give away the leftover inventory to Ashland residents in the venue of an ice cream social at Garfield Park. The novelty of free ice cream garnered the attention of local news media and inspired Allen to base a startup project on the idea.
Ice Cream Man gained major media exposure when it was granted backstage access at the main stage of Lollapalooza 2006. Soon after, Ice Cream Man began receiving interview requests and attention from future sponsors. Since 2006, Ice Cream Man has been a backstage fixture at almost every US rock music festival including Lollapalooza, Sasquatch! Music Festival, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork Music Festival, ATP, Austin City Limits, SXSW, and Outside Lands Music Festival.
Ice Cream Man’s business model is based on mutual exposure and advertisement. In exchange for funding of its operations, Ice Cream Man attempts to increase word-of-mouth promotion and build a popular association between its sponsors, free ice cream and the experience of music events. In this way, Allen states, Ice Cream Man is trying to establish a foothold in what he believes is a growing experience economy. The foremost example of Ice Cream Man’s business model is its use of two Yaris hatchbacks from Toyota as ice cream delivery vehicles for the 2009 summer season.
- YouTube - Ice Cream Man documentary
- National Public Radio - "This Ice Cream Man's Treats Are Free"
- Austin Chronicle - “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Ice Cream?”
- LA Alternative - “The Sweet Life”
- Rolling Stone - “Rock and Roll Daily – Rock Festival Question of the Summer: Who Is The Ice Cream Man?”
- Rolling Stone - "Rock and Roll Daily - Until Next Year, Bonnaroo: Farewell to the Fans"
- The Los Angeles Times - "Not Fat-Free, Just Free"
- The Chicago Reader - "Our Town: Giving It Away and Making It Pay"
- The Gothamist - "Matt Allen, The Ice Cream Man"
- The Brooklyn Paper - "The Ice Cream Man Cometh"
- Nashville Scene - "La Dolce Vita"
- Orange County Weekly - “We All Scream For Ice Cream”
- Positive Thinking Magazine - "Positive People: Matt Allen - Ice Cream Dreams"
- KCRW - "Good Food - The Silver Palate 25th Anniversary; The Ice Cream Man; Sustainable Menus"
- LA Record - “Ice Cream Man: Happiest Person in the World”
- Austin Chronicle - “Ice Cream Man Presents SXSW”
- WOCM 98.1 - "The Rude Awakening Show" interview