Don’t Hold Back Projekt

Discovering Germany’s next entrepreneurs


Although popular with older millennials, luxury ice cream brand Häagen-Dazs faced a challenge building relevance within the Gen Z German market. Positioning themselves as the “Ice Cream of Ice Creams”, Häagen-Dazs needed to find a route to culturally connect with a generation graduating into a post-pandemic world, whilst landing their creative platform, #DontHoldBack – a rallying call for everyone to follow their inner voice and live life to the fullest. 

So, what was our route? 

In the wake of global lockdowns, it became clear that the pandemic had opened the door to an onslaught of digital side hustle culture, with Gen Zs pursuing passion projects to complement or replace traditional work.  

With a close eye on shifting behaviour patterns, we created the ‘Don’t Hold Back Projekt’: a force-for-good social initiative that would kickstart Gen Z’s passion projects, turning them into long-term and sustainable careers. 

Playing into these trends, we set up a straightforward and democratic social media-led application system – amplified via influencers and paid social – to discover the best up and coming, socially-native, German talent. Across business innovators and creatives alike, we wanted to uncover individuals who were bursting with potential but lacked the resources to take the next step. 

Our campaign was split into 3 phases. 


We drove applications through a microsite via paid social and influencer activity – where our future entrepreneurs submitted 100 words and 5 photos/videos on their passion projects


Sifting through all entries, we judged each applicant on 3 KPIs.

1 INDIVIDUALITY: Unique, fresh & something you’ve never seen before. 

2 SELF EXPRESSION: A true representation of themselves – authentic & undiluted. 

3 LONGEVITY: Potential – they are serious about their ambitions. 

The top 40 entries were judged and upon review, the top 3 were discovered… 


After months of sifting, we discovered three ambassadors of the “Ice Creams of Ice Creams”.

THE LONGBOARDER OF LONGBOARDERS: @annikarudolph_ – a longboard dancer on a mission to empower. A unique business owner we couldn’t get out of our heads 

THE MUSICIAN OF MUSICIANS: @cloudyjune – a music sensation + influencer. Self-made with a beautiful voice, June is poised to take on the world with a little backing. 

THE DANCER OF DANCERS: @_damarisdominguez – a dancer + creative director. An incredible eye, Damaris is destined for greatness. 

Winners were mentored by Ana Álvarez; activist, founder & CEO of Megaprimer and founder of the Migration Hub Network – a hub for social entrepreneurs. 

Alongside the mentorship, all 3 received a €3000 bursary, plus paid social and OOH campaigns captured through a Berlin photoshoot. To integrate the ice cream of ice creams, each was paired with a hero flavour: Salted Caramel, Macadamia Nut Brittle, and Vanilla Caramel Brownie. For the final execution, the collaboration came to life across a Häagen-Dazs billboard campaign at Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena. 

AND we saw outstanding results. Overdelivering on all three campaign KPIs – reach, CTR and sales. Generating the largest ever off-season market share increase and positioning Häagen-Dazs as a brand with a clear creative purpose and vibrant identity within new audience group.