Jack Daniel’s wants to make its positioning count in Canada

To make a global positioning resonate locally, the American whiskey is focusing less on history and more on the people who drink it.

Jack Daniel’s is localizing its global “Make It Count” campaign with an integrated approach designed to resonate with Canadians.

The American whiskey brand’s usual tactic is to focus on it brand’s history and the craftsmanship that goes into making it, but it is instead putting its consumers in the spotlight. It has partnered with 12 Canadian photographers to showcase work that captures the theme of the campaign – people pursuing what they have always wanted to do and having an impact.

“We’re showcasing a new way of thinking about Jack, celebrating people who drink it instead of talking about our quality credentials, how we’re made and how long we’ve been around,” explains Julia Munro, Jack Daniel’s brand manager. “It’s a different view that focuses on the impact ‘making it count’ can have on peoples’ lives.”

Jack Daniel’s is the top-selling American whiskey in Canada, Munro says, but is still outsold by other brands in the whisky category as a whole. Canadians may also feel less of a connection to the history of a brand made in the U.S., especially when homegrown brands have already made that a key part of their own positionings. But by focusing directly on the people who drink it, the brand is hoping to forge a deeper emotional connection with Canadians and encourage them to choose Jack over made-in-Canada options such as Crown Royal or J.P. Wiser’s.

A key piece in the campaign is a media partnership with Vice, which has produced a recently launched TV documentary that borrows its name and theme from the campaign, following the journey of four different people as they attempt to achieve their “make it count moment,” Munro says.

While Munro says “it’s hard to do a show without making it feel like the logo has just been slapped on it,” she says the authenticity of the individuals featured in the documentary will help it to connect with Canadians in a genuine way.

The campaign also features Jack Daniel’s first-ever content push on Pinterest, a platform Munro says is “the top influencer for food and beverage choice.” More than 14 million Canadians use the social media platform every month, and Munro says that because the campaign relies so heavily on photography as a medium – and the audience is there – Pinterest is an ideal platform for it to focus on.

In addition, the campaign includes elements for Instagram and online video that will launch this month and OOH in downtown Toronto planned to roll out in March.

The push is part of a larger strategy Jack Daniel’s has been pursuing to harness Canadian talent in a bid to resonate with the Canadian audience, according to Munro.

“We have done a lot recently within this space, especially on our social media channels,” she explains, pointing to a recent partnership with Canadian artists on “The Art of Jack,” which saw them create pieces that “represented the process and the art behind the creation of Jack Daniel’s.”

In addition, Munro says, the brand has partnered with local bartenders – many lost their jobs due to the pandemic – to create “happy hours at home” for its Instagram channel, and it has highlighted local businesses with “Jack’s local faves.”

But where “Make It Count” differs from those past efforts is that it is a “globally led, but locally infused” campaign, she says.

“This is our first truly global campaign,” Munro notes. “Everywhere you go in the world, every country is behind ‘Make It Count’ and that makes it unique in itself.”