Branded Ice Cream Trucks

Are you looking to promote your brand through a fun and creative live marketing campaign?

Branded ice cream trucks offer a great opportunity to build brand awareness, engage with your audience, and reach your marketing goals.

But before you hit the road, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

We put together this short guide to explore the key factors you need to know to successfully operate a branded ice cream truck, from design elements to legal requirements and more. So grab a scoop (or two!) of your favorite flavor and let’s dive in!

What Is a Branded Ice Cream Truck and How Does It Work?

A branded ice cream truck is a mobile experiential marketing tool that companies use to promote their brand and products by giving away free or discounted ice cream. The truck is typically wrapped in the company’s branding and may have a custom menu featuring the company’s products.

The idea is to create a memorable experience for your audience while also generating positive brand associations. Companies that are successful in using branded ice cream trucks are thoughtful about the location of their events, know who their target market is, and understand what their goals are.

The Benefits of Using a Branded Ice Cream Truck

Like other branded food trucks, using a branded ice cream truck has several benefits for businesses looking to promote their brand and products. On a broad level, here are some of the main advantages:

1. Increased brand awareness: A branded ice cream truck can help increase your brand’s visibility by reaching a wider audience through events, festivals, or high-traffic areas.

2. Positive associations: Everybody loves ice cream! Providing free or discounted ice cream can create positive associations with your brand, which may increase customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.

3. Memorable experience: Offering a unique and enjoyable experience through an ice cream truck can leave a lasting impression on potential customers.

4. Customization: Branded ice cream trucks can be customized to match your company’s branding and messaging, which helps reinforce your brand identity.

5. Flexibility: Ice cream trucks are mobile and can easily travel to different locations, making them ideal for targeting specific audiences or testing out new markets.

Overall, a branded ice cream truck is a fun and effective way to create buzz around your business while also providing an enjoyable experience for potential customers.

Case Study: Hearst Autos

Hearst, the media company, wanted to thank their client brands with a sweet summertime treat. We helped them set up a branded ice cream truck in Los Angeles and Detroit.

How to Get a Branded Ice Cream Truck for Your Business

If you’re interested in getting a branded ice cream truck for your business, there are a few steps you can take.

First, research companies that specialize in creating and operating branded ice cream trucks. Look for companies with experience working with businesses similar to yours, as well as those that have positive reviews and testimonials.

Next, reach out to the company to discuss your specific needs and goals. They may be able to provide recommendations on the best approach based on your budget and target audience.

Once you’ve selected a company, work with them to create a custom design for your truck that incorporates your branding and messaging. You’ll also need to determine the best locations and events for the truck to visit.

Finally, coordinate logistics such as permits, staffing, and inventory. The company you work with may be able to handle some or all of these tasks for you.

Sourcing the Equipment

Sourcing your ice cream truck from a reliable company that specializes in creating and managing these types of food truck promotions is the best way to ensure success. With their help, you can create an effective mobile marketing campaign that meets your specific goals.

When sourcing an ice cream truck, you have several options:

1. Purchase a new or used ice cream truck: You can purchase a new or used ice cream truck and then work with a company that specializes in customizing vehicles to brand it to your specs.

2. Rent an existing branded ice cream truck: Some companies offer branded ice cream trucks for rent, which can be a cost-effective option if you only need the vehicle for a short period.

3. Work with an existing ice cream vendor: If there is already an existing ice cream vendor in your area, you may be able to rent the equipment directly from them.

4. Build your own custom vehicle: If you have the resources and expertise, you can build your own custom vehicle from scratch and work with a branding company to create the look and feel that matches your brand’s identity.

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on factors such as cost, customization options, timeline, and availability. It is important to carefully consider each option based on your specific needs before making a decision.

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Customization Options for Branded Ice Cream Trucks

There are several things to consider when building a branded ice cream truck. Take these into account before sourcing the actual truck.

Design elements:

1. The truck wrap: wrapping the ice cream truck in your branding is not always straightforward. You’ll need to know your truck’s dimensions and shape, so that you can create a proper digital wrap. Getting this wrong can end up in a truck that is incorrectly wrapped – meaning you’ll spend money and time fixing it.

2. Design elements on the truck: Consider where you will place your logo, what colors you will use, and any other elements such as social media hashtags and other text. Usually, a simple, clean design will be more clear to attendees, but this depends on your brand and audience.

3. Additional elements: When it comes to other creative elements, you can go big (or small). Toppers on the truck can make it stand out. Custom wheels or hubcaps can also be added. It all depends on how creative you want to get, how big your budget is, and of course what will resonate with your audience.

Case Study: Fox Networks

We worked with Fox to hit the streets of Chicago to hand out ice cream and promote their new summer show lineup.

Legal Requirements for Operating a Branded Ice Cream Truck

Operating a branded ice cream truck at the events and locations you plan to attend will probably require some permits. These may include health department permits, vendor licenses, food service permits, and other relevant certifications

In addition to permits and licenses, it’s essential to ensure that proper insurance coverage is in place. This includes liability insurance, commercial vehicle insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees working on the truck.

It’s also important to comply with local regulations regarding food safety and handling. This includes maintaining proper hygiene practices, ensuring that all food products are stored at appropriate temperatures, and following safe food handling procedures.

Every location may be different, so make sure you understand what the requirements are. For example, some municipalities may require background checks or fingerprinting for vendors operating in public parks or other public spaces.

How to Ensure Your Branded Ice Cream Truck Activation is a Success

You probably already have an idea or plan in place for where you’d like to take your branded ice cream truck, but just in case, here are some things that could make or break the success of your activation.

Location: Of course, the most important is being thoughtful about where you’re going to go. Make sure it’s where your target audience is going to be.

Weather: If you’re handing out ice cream, make sure you have a plan for unexpected weather. If it’s unusually cold that day, you may not get the foot-traffic you planned for.

Staff: A great staff can be your secret weapon. Anyone who represents your brand should be trained and vetted properly to ensure attendees remember you fondly.

Influencers and collaborators: Influencers can draw a crowd and create a large digital footprint.

Promotions and discounts: Carefully plan what you’re giving away, what you’re asking for, and the order of operations. For example, asking an attendee for their email before they get a free ice cream could turn them away.

Case Study: Toyota

Toyota passed out some fantastic frozen treats in New York City to promote the redesigned Camry.


We hope this guide was helpful. Branded ice cream trucks can be a great fit for a (relatively) easy and cost-effective experiential marketing campaign. If you have more questions, check out some of the FAQs below, or learn more about how our agency can help you source an ice cream truck and put on a successful activation by visiting our Agency Page.