Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey dove into social media this month, and early signs point to the 140+-year-old brand being a natural for these au courant communications channels.
With the intention to promote the September birthday of Jack Daniel's creator Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel (born in September 1850, although no one knows the exact day), the Brown Forman brand charged Dallas-based agency Slingshot with creating online experiences. One of the challenges: virtually no media support.
Slingshot focused on leveraging Facebook and Twitter. Simultaneous with establishing the brand's official Facebook page at the start of this month, it created an application that enables fans to create and share toasts to Jack Daniel's birthday.
The "Give A Toast" application analyzes a user's Facebook friend list, uses their profiles to automatically screen out any friends under 21, and identifies friends to toast based on their profile information or activities on the network. The user's friends are ranked into seven categories based on their data: social friend, photogenic friend, musical friend, mysterious friend, all-around friend, active friend or interesting friend.
The app does all of the work for the user: No need to answer questions or manually select friends to send toasts to. The toast and the Jack Daniel's cocktail selected by the user are posted on friends' Facebook walls. The app also identifies those friends who have September birthdays, and encourages users to toast them.
The only promotional support for Facebook was an email to Jack Daniel's' opt-in friends list announcing the new Facebook page and the toast application. In less than three weeks, the brand has attracted more than 332,000 Facebook fans, and more than 6,000 toasts have been made (the average number of toasts per user is 2.5), Jack Daniel's brand manager Jennifer Powell tells Marketing Daily.
As for Twitter, although Jack Daniel's doesn't have a page, it has asked fans to use #ToastJack in their tweets so that the brand can identify -- as it monitors its Twitter messages -- those tweets that are about the toasting application. These tweets are then aggregated on a dedicated area within the jackdaniels.com site (behind the age screening function), along with a map showing the geographic origin of the tweets.
"So far, we're very impressed with the viral effect. We've gotten tweets from more than 25 different countries," reports Powell. To get the ball rolling, Slingshot simply sent test tweets in Dallas, which spread through the U.S. and then onto other countries. The only other Twitter support consists of "prom cards" at Jack Daniel's' on-premises events that explain the toast application and use of #ToastJack in tweets.
The month-long celebration also includes new cable TV flights of the brand's "His Way" commercial (message: Jack Daniel's unique distilling process was "not the easy way, but it was his way").
On another front entirely, this month also marks the national availability of a line of Jack Daniel's ready-to-eat, refrigerated meat entrées. The brand partnered with Completely Fresh Foods, Inc. Pilot distribution in Southern California began a year ago, with subsequent expansion into other regions.
The line is already one of the fastest-growing meat product introductions in the last 10 years, according to the companies. The entrées follow successful launches of Jack Daniel's barbeque and grilling sauces lines.