Beam Suntory Appoints Leo Burnett Global AOR for Jim Beam

By Kyle O'Brien 

Leo Burnett is back with Beam, Jim Beam. Beam Suntory has named Leo Burnett its global creative agency of record for top-selling bourbon brand Jim Beam. The agency will develop a new global positioning and creative platform for the iconic bourbon.

“As our flagship Jim Beam looks to the next 225 years of its history, we needed an agency partner that could truly dig into the brand’s DNA—and connect with both loyal and curious consumers through rich, immersive storytelling,” said Jessica Spence, Beam Suntory president of brands in a statement. “We believe that Jim Beam has the right to lead in American Whisky globally—and we can’t wait to partner with Leo on creative that will support the continued growth of this incredible brand.”

This is the second time Leo Burnett has been named AOR for Jim Beam. The Publicis agency previously received the designation in 2016, before the brand started working with DDB in 2018.

This is the latest and largest new business win for Leo Burnett with Beam Suntory this year. This summer, following a competitive pitch, Leo Burnett was appointed agency of record for Legent, a Kentucky whiskey crafted in the traditional Japanese technique. Work is underway to tell the story of the quality, distinct flavor and uniqueness of its bourbon experience. Leo Burnett earlier won a pitch to launch a new ready-to-drink product within Beam Suntory’s portfolio in 2023. Work is currently in-market for Knob Creek and Basil Hayden bourbon brands, including a new brand platform for Basil Hayden—Light the Way.

“Crafting the next chapter of an iconic brand like Jim Beam is a responsibility we don’t take lightly,” said Britt Nolan, Leo Burnett Chicago’s president and chief creative officer in a statement. “We’ve been proud to deliver strong results for Beam Suntory’s small batch portfolio—and couldn’t be more excited about this next stage of our partnership.”

The upcoming campaign will be Beam Suntory’s latest investment in Jim Beam. The company recently completed a $60 reinvention of the brand’s homeplace in Clermont, Kentucky—uniting its family of brands, elevating its visitor experience and establishing the Fred B. Noe Distillery, where eighth generation Beam distiller Freddie Noe will craft the Beam whiskies of the future. Earlier this month, the company announced a $400 million investment to expand capacity for Jim Beam, leveraging renewable energy at its Booker Noe Distillery in Boston, Kentucky.

In the first half of 2022, Beam Suntory reported net sales up 13% versus the year-earlier period—and a 25% increase from the pre-pandemic period in 2019. The company will complete the relocation of its global headquarters to New York City next month.

Beam Suntory also gave some of its business to independent Chicago creative agency Highdive, which was chosen as the creative agency of record for five of the company’s brands, including Sauza Agave Cocktails.

Advertisement
Advertisement