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A century of Blue Bell

Happy New Year, everybody! The arrival of 2007 brings with it the 100th anniversary of the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham. It started out making butter, but has been known for its ice cream for decades. And their marketing of that ice cream is almost as famous.

Blue Bell’s success, in part, has been built on selling itself as an old-timey, country company.

That marketing strategy took hold in 1969 when Blue Bell hired Houston advertising agent Lyle Metzdorf. Metzdorf, who died in 2002, used Washington County settings and local residents to represent the down-home nature of the company and its ice cream.

Here’s a Chron story from 2003 on Metzdorf. His ads were definitely memorable. The tag line “We eat all we can, and we sell the rest” is brilliant.

From Jan. 1 to April 30, Blue Bell customers will get a chance to name their own flavors based on themes from states where the ice cream is sold. Blue Bell will then create flavors to fit each name, and winners will be honored at the Brenham headquarters.

Blue Bell already has developed a special flavor to mark 2007. Century Sundae is Homemade Vanilla ice cream with swirls of caramel, chocolate, whipped topping and maraschino cherries.

Ooh, that sounds good. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

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