Jack Daniel's recently celebrated its 150th Anniversary in India. A huge barrel hunt was organized and Mumbai was one of the lucky few cities in the world where the barrels were hidden. In a candid conversation with Mr. Vineet Agrawal, Head of Marketing, Indian Subcontinent and Maldives, Brown-Forman Worldwide LLC, we tried to look at the event from the organiser's perspective!
R: Can you throw some light on what goes on behind the scenes while organizing such a massive event worldwide?
VA: From July through September, 150 handcrafted whiskey barrels are being hidden in various regions across the globe at historic and cultural sites. The first Barrel Hunt took place at the home of the distillery in Lynchburg on July 1 and will visit more than 50 countries in 90 days. We’re excited that three of these barrels are coming to India and will be hidden at secret locations in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.
Clues and the password tied to the hidden location of the barrel were provided on the Jack Daniel’s Facebook page and the barrels were opened when the first person to arrive touches the barrel and speaks the correct barrel password.
Each hidden barrel in the scavenger hunt has been handcrafted from the distillery and used to mature Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey before being specially fabricated for the Barrel Hunt to house prizes, including an original, one-of-a-kind bar kit made with white oak from the barrels. Barrel Hunt winners will also receive the authentic Jack Daniel’s barrel they found along with prizes tailored to each region that participates in the Barrel Hunt.
R: How did the team come up with the idea?
VA: Every drop of Jack Daniel’s ever enjoyed was once inside a barrel handmade at the distillery. That means every story, every personal experience, and every instance of Jack Daniel’s in pop culture all started from the same source: the distillery and its barrels. In celebration of the 150th anniversary, we featured these barrels in a global scavenger hunt where 150 of them were hidden around the world. In search for these barrels, both loyal and occasional drinkers from all over the world will have a way to participate in the distillery’s century and a half of influence.
The #Jacks150 activation gives us an engaging and fun way to celebrate the distillery’s 150th year and elevate a global conversation about Jack Daniel’s.
R: What are some of the major challenges you faced while organizing this campaign?
VA: Executing a global campaign which is travelling through more than 50 countries in 90 days has its set of challenges but we are excited about it. As of today, 70 of the 150 barrels have been discovered by Friends of Jack across the world and the response has been very encouraging.
R: How does JD plan on capturing the Indian market where the majority favors moderately priced scotch?
VA: One of the foremost needs for us is to tell consumers what makes American Whiskey and Jack Daniel’s special and different to other whiskeys. For example, every drop of Jack Daniel’s is made in Lynchburg Tennessee, the place where Jack Daniel established his distillery in 1866. Jack Daniel’s whiskey is charcoal mellowed, a unique process to Tennessee and the reason why Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee Whiskey and not Bourbon. Jack Daniel’s whiskey is then matured in brand new American oak barrels crafted at our own cooperages. We’re the only major distiller in the world which still makes our own barrels. All of this is of great interest to our consumers and trade partners.
Music has been one of our key communication platforms globally, helping us take the brand’s core values to our consumers. Not many people know that our relationship with music goes all the way back to our founder Mr. Jack himself. He knew that good music and good whiskey had a way of bringing people together. To help keep the music going, Jack created his own neighborhood band called the Silver Cornet Band way back in 1892. Today, for a generation of new musicians, Jack Daniel’s continues to be the spirit behind their music.
We also celebrate Mr. Jack’s Birthday in India during the month of September as it is done across the world, giving consumers a chance to know and engage with the brand better.
In addition to this, the mixability of Jack Daniel’s is a strong platform for us. Jack Daniel’s is a versatile and easily mixable drink and Jack and Cola is one of the most popular bar calls amongst new consumers. It also allows the bar tenders to experiment with different cocktails using Jack Daniel’s as the base. To tap into the increasing demand for whiskey cocktails in India, we launched a “Whiskey Cocktails – Made with Jack” festival last year and the response has been very encouraging