Cultural Branding - Jack Daniels 1950s

This HBR article, cites Jack Daniels' marketing example. It says that most Iconic brands are cultural innovators. They leapfrog the conventions of their categories to champion new ideologies that are meaningful to customers.

Whiskies compete to be perceived as upscale and masculine. In the 1950s the major brands aligned themselves with the image of the sophisticated modern corporate executive. Jack Daniels was a small Whiskey producer and was being trounced by the National players. Jack Daniels was running ads showing corporate executives drinking their whiskey, however nothing worked.

The firm then pursued a cultural branding approach. The assumption was that because masculine ideals are shaped by society, they change over time. During the cold war, the corporate executive seemed too sedentary. The public was then drawn to the Old Wild West and the popularity of Wild west films also indicated towards this shift. Jack Daniels distillery was in rural Tennessee which in the American imagination was the last authentic pockets of the frontier. The company's print ad campaign then reflected stories romanticizing the distillery run by frontiersmen. The campaign resulted in changing the fortunes of Jack Daniels


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