Ad of the Day: Jack Daniel’s

Does a campaign about authenticity have any place on Facebook?

In today's world of virtual friends and music clouds, plenty of brands—particularly rugged American ones—are finding success in pushing back and emphasizing the tangible and the authentic. Often there's a patriotic slant to this kind of messaging—the notion that being American means being real, working with your hands, and saying hello in person. Anything less means you're an imposter living in a dream world.

Arnold's new Jack Daniel's campaign is cut from this cloth—sort of. It's built around letterpress printing, one of the most famously authentic activities around. The agency employed Yee-Haw Industries, a letterpress printer in Knoxville, Tenn., to create a bunch of patriotic posters (scroll down to see eight of them) and documented the process in the wonderful little two-and-a-half minute documentary below. The third element in the campaign is a straightforward 30-second spot (also below) called "As American As," which is basically a celebration of America as it used to be—a land of physical rather than virtual invention. Everything in the commercial is old and weathered. There's not a laptop within 100 miles of it.

But then, Arnold took the whole campaign and grafted it on to Facebook, building an app that lets you customize your own posters and share them virtually. Now, clearly this is just something you do these days—the Facebook app is standard procedure. But doesn't it contradict the entire point of the campaign? Sharing thumbnail JPGs of letterpress posters must be one of the most inauthentic things you could possibly do. It's like listening to Mozart through Macbook speakers, or watching Blue Velvet on an iPhone. In Jack's case, it might not sink the campaign, but it does make the messaging feel more like a pose than a strongly held belief.

The problem is—Jack Daniel's is quite a progressive marketer (it was the first liquor brand to buy Twitter ads, for one thing) that's peddling an ultra-traditional if not outright regressive message. It might be able to get away with that, but there's going to be some oddities like this along the way.

"Here's to the American spirit," the TV spot says at the end. Well, which spirit is that? Gutenberg or Zuckerberg?


CREDITS:

"Yee-Haw Poster Documentary"

Agency: Arnold Worldwide

Client: Jack Daniel's

Chief Creative Officer: Pete Favat

Group Creative Director: Wade Devers

Art Director: Travis Robertson

Copywriter: Bryan Karr

Producer: Billy Near

Producer: Ben Ouellette

Art Buyer: Andrea Ricker

Business Affairs: Maria Rougvie

Project Management: Lauren Butterworth

Account Management: Paul Nelson, Nate Stewart, Shannon Coletti, Arden Clapp

Production Company: Paper Fortress

Special thanks to Yee-Haw Industries. 

"As American As"

Agency: Arnold Worldwide

Client: Jack Daniel's

Chief Creative Officer: Pete Favat

Group Creative Director: Wade Devers

Copywriter: Bryan Karr

Art Director: Travis Robertson

Producer: Billy Near

Producer: Ben Ouellette

Art Buyer: Andrea Ricker

Business Affairs: Maria Rougvie

Project Management: Lauren Butterworth

Account Management: Paul Nelson, Nate Stewart, Shannon Coletti, Arden Clapp

Production Company: Prettybird

Director: Max Malkin

EP(s): Kerstin Emhoff  & Ali Brown

Editorial: Lost Planet

Editor: Max Koepke

Producer: Krystn Wagenberg

Telecine: CO3

Colorist: Tom Poole

Audio Post: audioEngine

Mixer: Rex Recker

Producer:Jessie Meade

Executive Producer: Sharon DiTullio-Tepper