Jim Beam Black Fires Up Online 'Bonfire'
Jim Beam Black Double Aged Bourbon is building on its "8 Years Changes Everything" advertising campaign -- which spotlights the spirit's eight-year aging process -- with a bonfire-themed, Facebook-hosted online game and sweepstakes.
Beamfire.com, which goes live on Oct. 15, will offer legal-age consumers the opportunity to symbolically discard aspects of their lives that they have outgrown over the past eight years by "throwing" photos or text descriptions of these into a virtual bonfire. ("There comes a time in everyone's life when you look back, really reflect, and think: 'What the hell was I thinking?'," explains a voiceover intro on the Beamfire site.)
Each discarded memory earns one point, which translates into one entry in a sweepstakes. Each week during the sweeps' eight-week duration, drawings will determine the winners of up to 10 branded prize packs. At the contest's conclusion on Dec. 10, all eligible participants will be automatically entered into a drawing for three $8,000 grand prizes.
Consumers join Beamfire by linking in through Facebook. To encourage a viral effect, the consumer's Beamfire participation will be noted on his/her Facebook wall for friends to see (individuals can, of course, opt to remove that posting). Participants can also receive updates on the game/contest via their Facebook accounts.
As with the "8 years" print and digital advertising campaign, launched in July (sample headline: "If your palate has developed over the last 8 years, consider this the perfect timing."), Beamfire seeks to engage Jim Beam Black's core target audience of men ages 30 to 34 "who are maturing into another portion of their lives, and looking for products that reflect that enhanced level of maturity," explains Rob Mason, director of U.S. Bourbon for Beam Global Spirits & Wine.
A primary objective of the overall "8 years" marketing concept, confirms Mason, is clarifying JB Black's premium differentiator from JB White -- that it is "double-aged" (twice as long as JB White), and that eight years result in the "perfect level of maturation" for a bourbon product.
The brand will suggest idea-stimulating "theme challenges" each week on Beamfire.com (such as "my old wardrobe," "where I used to live" and "my old job"), and those who participate in these challenges can earn "badges" to post on their Facebook pages and rise in the game rankings. However, players can also opt to skip the challenges and "submit anything that relates to something they used to do that's no longer relevant in their lives," Mason says.
Due to the "sensitive" nature of spirits marketing, while all submissions will earn a sweeps entry, not all will be viewable online, he notes. Participants will be asked whether they agree to let their submissions be viewed by the online community, and if so, posting will be contingent on a submission's content having been vetted and approved as appropriate. (The game rules spell out a list of do's and don'ts for photos and messages -- for example, photos can't include anyone under age 21 or "things that appeal to children," like cartoon characters.)
The Beamfire initiative and generally increased engagement activities on the separate Facebook fan pages for JB Black and JB White represent the start of significantly expanded social media efforts across the JB franchise, reports Mason. Beamfire is "just the tip of the iceberg," he says.
The "8 years" ad campaign includes multiple print and digital executions. The media plan focuses on sports media properties, with ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine as the "centerpiece" properties, according to Mason.