Jack Daniel’s  is a Bourbon distilled in Lynchburg Tennessee. Though there is some argument as to the original creator of the recipe, the company was the first registered distillery in the U.S., founded in in 1866 by Jasper Newton Daniel. 

“Made by real people in an out- of- the -way place”.

The 1955 marketing slogan, seen above, created by Winston Smith , (The brand’s very first marketing director) codifies the connection Jack Daniel’s will come to have with its loyal following for decades to come. A family owned company, the brand managers wished to create a communication strategy that would build the “Brand Ideal“. Through this the name Jack Daniel’s has come to embody very real attributes. As an international symbol of the American South, the brand symbolizes attitude, masculinity, heritage, and a commitment to quality.

Regardless of media type, brand advertising within the company is all centered around effective storytelling. Encompassing almost the entirety of the brand history, this style of advertising is designed to connect with a consumer need to create experiences, memories and community validation, and drives consumers to use the popular spirit as a tool to showcase the brand attributes as their own personality. These advertisements are normally characterized by the usage of black and white to create a timeless look and the usage of the word legend and “legend has it”. They are often accompanied by a rustic male’s voice to translate the masculine attribute, important to the brand image.

Origin Story

“Every day we make it; we’ll make it the best we can.” – Jasper Daniel

Jack Daniel’s origin story receives widespread usage throughout the brands advertising campaigns. The retelling of this story is what captures audience’s attention and forms them into a loyal community. The stories create the beginnings of the brand’s attributes and connects the consumer to the promise of quality.

Brand Ambassadors and Music
There is no stronger communities then those encircled around a common love for music. Music is at the foundation of the Jack Daniel’s story and is widely used throughout promotional material. This is the element of advertising that strengthens  the consumers desire to express the brand attributes as their own.

““Ladies and gentlemen, this is Jack Daniel’s, and it’s the nectar of the gods.” -Frank Sinatra

Within this strategy, the managers attach themselves to iconic and timeless music personalities and transformed them into brand ambassadors. The first and most iconic of which was the attachment to Frank Sinatra, after which the brand saw sales double the following year. Though there are arguments on whether Sinatra choose JD or if JD hired Sinatra, regardless, the company took advantage of his status and catered to his consumption of the beverage. The usage of Sinatra’s ambassadorship continues today with a select label “Jack Daniel’s Sinatra”.
Bar Stories
Another, and more recent implementation of the storytelling strategy, is the advertising series “Bar Stories”. This campaign sought out real bartenders and converted their stories into content. The series encompasses seven videos, 11 audio stories, and six written stories and is featured on a independent website. This campaign is at the heart of Jack Daniel’s goal of driving consumers to create their own stories through the beverage.

Daniel’s, J. (2014). History of Jack Daniel’s. Retrieved from Youtube.com:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTAk5c5OHhk

Daniel’s, J. (2019). We’re Jack Daniel’s. Retrieved from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ7ggBV8GZY

Feldberg, S. (2015). The Love Song of Frank and Jack: How Sinatra Put Jack Daniel’s on the Map. Retrieved from tailsofthecocktail.com: https://talesofthecocktail.com/culture/frank-sinatra-jack-daniels

Fortune. (2011). Jack Daniel’s marketing magic. Retrieved from Fortune.com: https://fortune.com/2011/12/08/jack-daniels-marketing-magic/

History, T. (n.d.). Retrieved from Texas History.edu: https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505082/

Kollar, L. (2017). A Brief History of Jack Daniel’s. Retrieved from ThecultureTrip.com: https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/tennessee/articles/a-brief-history-of-jack-daniels/

Nudd, T. (2014). How Jack Daniel’s Searched All Over the Country for the Best Bar Stories. Retrieved from adweek.com: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/how-jack-daniels-searched-all-over-country-best-bar-stories-160166/

Owen, M. (2014). How Jack Daniel’s uses storytelling to personalise the brand. Retrieved from econsultancy.com: https://econsultancy.com/how-jack-daniel-s-uses-storytelling-to-personalise-the-brand/