That’s what the folks over at Jack Daniel’s call the brand that made them famous, the world over.
A brand that single-handedly managed to own the category. A brand that only 10 years ago was worth $1.58 billion and ranked 90th among the world’s most valuable.
Jack Daniel’s is not the best tasting Whiskey, not by a long shot. It is however the best selling American Whiskey and ranked 8th in the world by volume sales.
How did it achieve all this?
Good old fashioned storytelling, that’s how.
A Bit About the Whiskey Sippin Audience
To love Jack Daniel’s is to know its story. Jack’s story is as appealing as they get.
Over the years, the brand became the story, and the admen behind “Old No. 7″ knew exactly how to narrate it.
Very early on, the brand understood the power of storytelling. However, it wasn’t until the mid fifties when they started incorporating it into advertising.
Jack’s story became an integral part of the brand’s communication strategy.
Their audience: a discerning consumer who’re more influenced by heritage than they are by taste.
Everyone Loves a Good Mystery
One of the characteristics of a good story is mystery. Jack Daniel (the man) is as mysterious as they get.
For starters, no one knows when he was born.
His death -they say- was a result of an infection in his foot, caused by an injury when he kicked his safe early one morning when it failed to open.
The flagship brand (No. 7) is rumored to be the number of mistresses Jack had.
The brand very quickly became endearing to whiskey drinkers all over the world.
Jack as the Brand Protagonist
Jack Daniel became the protagonist of these brand stories.
His personal story became the brand’s story.
His attention to detail and fanatical pursuit of perfection of his brand became the overarching narrative. The brand’s creative copy in TV and print reflected these characteristics.
The Hero’s Conflict
Lynchburg Tennessee, where JD is distilled, is a dry county. Till today, you cannot buy alcohol there. This fact is an integral part of the JD story.
It goes back to the days of prohibition when the distillery (under the stewardship of Jack’s nephew, Lem Motlow) shut down production for 7 years.
Although it nearly bankrupted the company back then, Jack Daniel’s eventually survived.
This is a perfect example of a protagonist facing conflict, overcoming adversity and emerging victorious.
This is one of the many true stories that defines the brand today.
The Story of the Barrel
Sometimes the JD Barrel shared the spotlight as the supporting character in the story….
Jack Daniels is America
Today, the brand is synonymous with what America stands for. The advertising brilliantly transcends the brand’s story to that of America’s providing a platform that future-proofs the JD brand for generations to come.
Jack Daniel’s Challenges in the Digital Age
The Jack Daniel’s brand is struggling in the digital age. This maybe due to age restriction in advertising to minors, but they can do a lot better.
In fact, they should do a lot better given that they have the perfect platform for honest dialogue with their audience; a great story!
Other Places to Find Jack
- Official Jack Daniel’s Site
- Jack Daniel’s on Facebook
- Jack Daniel’s on Twitter
- Jack Daniel’s on Pinterest (Unofficial)
- Wikipedia page for Jack Daniel’s
- The story of ‘Jack’ Daniel
- Whiskey business: Myths of Jack Daniel
- Tennessee Myths and Legends
- It Took Brilliant Marketing To Turn Jack Daniel’s Into The World’s Most Popular Whiskey