Perverted Ice Cream: Vancouver treat shop uses bad reviews to its advantage

Mar 8 2023, 9:27 pm

Does anyone remember those ads for Gossip Girl where negative reviews for the show were used on promotional posters?

It was the late aughties, and the show was at its height of popularity, but the use of phrases from various bad reviews (a clever ad campaign headed by an agency called Wongdoody) actually ended up generating more attention for Gossip Girl.

The “Very bad, Nightmare, Nasty, Inappropriate” campaign, as it was called, certainly wasn’t the first time this tactic was used in the marketing world, but it’s immediately what we thought of when we first saw some of Perverted Ice Cream’s more recent Instagram posts.

The local ice cream parlour, which is located in downtown Vancouver at 797 Thurlow Street, is one of the more irreverent and provocative shops around town, serving up frozen treats with names like Barbie’s F-Boy and Brand Spanking.

Perverted uses “Every time I come ice cream” as its catchphrase, and its blacked-out windows made it look more like a sex shop than an ice cream parlour, so you know you’re not walking into a conventional parlour by any means.

All businesses have to contend with negative reviews every once in a while, especially with platforms like Yelp and Google Maps, but Perverted’s approach has taken the bad press and run with it in an entirely different direction.

Using its critics’ words to its advantage, Perverted has created Instagram posts highlighting some of the more creative ways that folks have critiqued its ice cream.

“Turned out to be tofu ice cream with too much makeup on,” one clever reviewer said, which Perverted noted was “one of our favourites.”

Another said “Looks good but tastes like sadness,” and “Just take a picture and dump it around the corner.”

Directly following the slide with the quotation is a screencap of the actual review, a cheeky way of both calling out those who leave bad reviews online as well as sharing that these words did indeed come from customers and were not just imagined by a clever creative team.

Turns out, though, this reclaiming of its critics’ words actually was part of a scheme by a clever creative team.

Later slides shared on Perverted’s Instagram page suggest that this “Bad Review” series is actually an introduction to a new ice cream special by the same name.

This featured special apparently includes “overpriced soft serve,” “some sort of whatever salty sweet crumble,” “barely hard chocklit hard shell,” “stupid whip cream,” “who puts a f*#%ing Ritz cracker on ice cream?!,” and “The branding is cool but you’ll probably wait in line forever and then it will just melt. The flavours aren’t even that perverted.”

It’s not clear if these descriptors were pulled directly from reviews or if they were invented, but one thing’s clear: Perverted Ice Cream clearly has a sense of humour.

A la Gossip Girl before it, Perverted has taken its own bad reviews and turned them into a marketing campaign for an ice cream born out of its own perceived failings – it’s either a brilliant continuation of the brand’s use of subversion or it’s a silly gimmick to sell more ice cream.

Our money’s on both.

Dished StaffDished Staff

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