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And then sometimes you just can’t plan anything

Magnum couldn’t have dreamed up a more desirable script even if Judd Apatow wrote the copy. I was listening to my favourite Sydney radio station on a random Friday morning in November when the newsguy relayed a story about a lady-driver pleading innocence to a $500 traffic fine. Her defence: it was a Magnum Ego and not a mobile phone that she was holding while driving. And while the calorie count of a Magnum could arguably be against the law, there’s nothing illegal about eating ice-cream behind the wheel.

And Melbourne mum Michelle is keeping her cool while maintaining her position, explaining to ‘A Current Affair’. Two police officers had passed her while driving in the opposite direction, claiming she was holding a mobile phone — which is illegal in Australia. The law enforcers turned their vehicle around to catch up to Michelle, and then pulled her over.

At that stage the Magnum was gone, eaten, devoured, but Michelle had fresh evidence on hand which she presented to the officer on the spot. The empty foil wrapper, the naked wooden stick, and apparently, a chocolate stain on her top which she only noticed later.

But the police officers would have nothing of it and issued a fine. To further strengthen her defence Michelle managed to get a copy of her receipt from the Coles quickshop as evidence of her ice-cream purchase. Supporting her argument, the receipt was issued only six minutes prior to the time noted on her traffic fine. As any Magnum eater could weigh in, five minutes sounds just about right to consume one of these crazy-delicious indulgences.

But the plot thickens. The policeman claims he also spotted a golden glow from Michelle’s mobile phone as he drove past. Michelle argues this may have been her jewellery, or the golden glow may very well have been the caramel centre of the Magnum Ego she was holding, glistening in the sun. “It was a sunny day,” she says.

This kind of sweet suburban news story is marketing gold. Featured on ‘A Current Affair’, reported on KIIS news, and online, and even me sharing this in my blog. And while this may not be turned into a Netflix series, it’s a whole lot of unexpected free publicity that all brands welcome with wide open arms.

Now Magnum may or may extend this theme in their next ad campaign. Or maybe they’ll consider the Ben & Jerry’s route of naming or designing an ice-cream better suited to driving. Or maybe they’ll make Melbourne mum Michelle their new Magnum lady. Whatever route Magnum decides to do, they should strike while the iron’s hot — before the ice-cream melts — and hitch a ride on this unexpected wave of publicity.

Contentious KIIS FM presenter Kyle went on to suggest to listeners to keep a Magnum stick handy in case a policeman pulls them over for holding a mobile phone. But news-guy Brooklyn took the high road laughing it off, warning listeners to be doubly careful the next time you want to eat a Magnum while driving.

All this is marketing food for thought. Relevant, topical and unexpected light publicity every brand wishes for. Not sure what the lawyers will argue, but I’m thinking while they’re presenting the case, maybe the calorie count or the taste-bud bombarding deliciousness of a Magnum Ego should be the thing that’s against the law, not driving while eating one. But for now the jury’s out. I armrest my case.

Creative Mix helps clients build brands through a blend of modern marketing solutions. To chat more about your brand’s journey, copywriting or content needs — or even just to chat about ice-cream, make contact today.