The project, dubbed "City Churned," will track the habits of city dwellers New York, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Ore., and solicit votes on elements in the flavors, which are to be sold in those cities.
In New York, Ben & Jerry's will track on-time versus late subway departures on several subway lines. On-time trains will count for either waffle cone pieces or spoonable caramel, depending on the subway line, as an ingredient in the flavor.
In Washington, the company filmed joggers along the Potomac River, with every northbound jogger counting as a vote for marshmallow and southbound joggers counted as votes for peppermint.
In Seattle, every plaid shirt-versus-plain shirt was a vote for either chocolate of vanilla.
"Name a city and you feel a pulse that is individual to that hub. There's a personality to each location that is distinctive unto itself. Some would say a flavor," said Dave Stever, Ben & Jerry's marketing director. "We're going to give our fans something we've never given them before: a chance to mix up an ice cream as unique as that city's own flavor."
Ben & Jerry's fans are able to vote at a website and enter a contest to name their city's new flavor.
The company said it will use locally sourced vendors to produce the ice cream.
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