Netflix and Ben & Jerry's Keep the Jokes Coming With a Retro Hotline

Laugh with Wanda Sykes as you binge on a new flavor, Punch Line

Buck up, despondent denizens of 2020. Much-needed laughs are just a phone call away.

Taking its "Netflix Is a Joke" mantra to funny new heights, the streaming service has engaged three stars from its comedy specials—Wanda Sykes, Fortune Feimster and Aparna Nancherla—for a "Punch Line Hotline." Harkening back to telephone-marketing tropes of the '80s and '90s, the initiative, developed with creative shop Observatory, touts the latest limited-batch, Netflix-themed flavor from Ben & Jerry's. That co-branded offering, dubbed Punch Line, mixes brown-butter-bourbon and almond ice cream with roasted almonds and cherries.

Call 1-866-PUNCHLINE through March 21 for a chance to score some free product, and you might hear Nancherla say: "My favorite way to eat ice cream is quickly with my hands while running out of the grocery-store frozen-foods aisle screaming, 'What is money, anyway?' "

Thankfully, not all of the 60-plus jokes are about frozen desserts.

For example, Sykes captures the pandemic zeitgeist: "I feel desperate to see other people. I got a postcard from the dentist. It said, 'We miss you.' For the first time ever, I turned it over and wrote back, 'I miss you too!' "

And Feimster plugs a Netflix show: "I don't want to spoil Emily in Paris … but she goes to Paris."

You can watch the comedians yuk it up real good in these promos:

Ben & Jerry's Punch Line Hotline
The Laughs You Deserve | Ben & Jerry's Punch Line Hotline
Jokes & Ice Cream | Ben & Jerry's Punch Line Hotline

"Hot sauce in your neti pot," eh, Wanda? Yeah, that's 2020 through and through.

"After we named the flavor, everything fell into place," Netflix marketing partnerships creative manager Alanna Strauss tells Muse. "We didn't just want to talk about 'Punch Lines,' we wanted to deliver them in a real, substantial way. We took the common insight that 2020 has been undeniably tough for everyone, and aspired to create something tangible that would provide laughs whenever and wherever people needed them."

Well, that's a stand-up strategy right there. *Drops mic*

"Throughout this past year, our goal was to make every campaign we did with Ben & Jerry's feel unique and customized to the theme and flavor of the ice cream," Strauss says. "So, this Punch Line campaign continues to build new, innovative moments and experiences for both Netflix and Ben & Jerry fans."

Previous co-branded flavors from the pair have included Netflix & Chilll'd (with peanut butter, pretzels and fudge brownies); Boots on the Moooo'n (hyping Space Force, with "a universe of milk chocolate ice cream, fudge cows and toffee meteor clusters orbiting a sugar cookie dough core"); and Chip Happens (inspired by Nailed It, featuring potato chips and fudge).

CREDITS

Brands: Netflix and Ben & Jerry's
Creative Agency: Observatory
Production: O Positive
Director: Jess Coulter
Post Production: Exile
Sound: Barking Owl
Color: Company 3
Experiential Agency: Trigger(House
Media Agency: 360i

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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