View Full Version : Jim Beam Launches Social Media Campaign.

05-15-2008, 21:33
Jim Beam is doing something interesting to promote white label. It's called a social media campaign. It was explained to me that social media "refers to conversation and community in the online space." Okay, I get it. Interactive. Like straightbourbon.com.

They don't want to call this a campaign. They prefer "movement."

Here's the gist of it:

A crusade has begun. Jim Beam®, the world's number one selling bourbon, is thinking outside of the bottle in an entirely unconventional way by starting a movement to recognize, support and celebrate true character. By investing their multi-million dollar marketing budget into the success of selected individuals and organizations that represent the "Stuff Inside", (www.thestuffinside.com) (http://www.thestuffinside.com) Jim Beam is turning conventional marketing on its head.

It is the most content-rich web site I have seen from any beverage brand, although I can't say I spend a lot of time looking at sites for beverages that aren't whiskey.

But a warning. There isn't hardly anything on it about whiskey.

Apparently, that's the point.

(You can go to www.jimbeam.com (http://www.jimbeam.com) for the whiskey part. Jim Beam has many web sites.)

There is one, small, quibbly problem with the whole package, however. It's the fundamental claim that Beam whiskey hasn't changed since 1795, a span of 213 years. That's a great metaphor, a nice way of saying that their whiskey has been made by the same family for 213 years, using methods passed down from father to son (and the occasional uncle or cousin). All of that is absolutely true.

But taken literally in reference to the whiskey itself, it's problematic, since no whiskey sold today is like whiskey was 213 years ago, and you wouldn't want it to be. That goes for Beam whiskey and everybody else. Whiskey then wasn't aged, the stills were different, the alcohol content was different. As for the Jim Beam brand itself, it is a post-Prohibition creation, so less than 75 years old.

What would be a good, smart, sophisticated, pro-active way to make all that a positive? De-emphasize the theme's literal meaning and build up its application as a metaphor.

Color me impressed.

05-15-2008, 22:13
Interesting campaign, Chuck. It's definitely more of a "lifestyle" campaign as opposed to one of those "our product is great" ads. I see that in ads in guitar magazines, for example. Look in any guitar mag and you'll see a stripper holding a guitar or some guy sitting there looking off into space, holding a guitar while a hottie drapes herself over him. Taylor Guitars used to run ads that never mentioned quality tonewoods or technical innovations, they would say stuff like, and I'm paraphasing here, "The wife's out of town for the weekend. I've got the place to myself. Glad I have a Taylor.." You know, that kind of stuff. It can be very effective.

The Beam site was a bit creepy at first; a big splash page with a bunch of words floating randomly about, words like "Committment," "Sacrifice," "Driven," "Humble," etc. It's up to the viewer to interpret that, good marketing sense there. I'm probably a bit ad-proof, but I can see how putting some conceptual buzzwords in peoples' heads is good marketing.

I guess a huge internet ad campaign must be cheaper than another year in the barrel. :grin:

Thanks for posting this, it is intriguing.


PS- I noticed that the copy says they have "stayed true to the original recipe." This could be open to interpretation as well...

05-16-2008, 03:39
I suspect that this will be a large investment with little measurable return. First glance suggests, imo, that it is quite disjointed with no clear "grab" that would make me want to come back and invest time in the site.

05-16-2008, 05:01
Sounds like a virtual attempt at expanding on the MM ambassador program.
I'm sure some corporate weeny said in a meeting,"Hey, why can't we do what Maker's did? Only its be bigger, better......."
I find the web based beverage sites to be poorly maintained, outdated, lacking content. (Check out HH's bourbon society, they've had the same content for about 3 years)
Seems like beam has upped the ante by being brand specific. (Knob Creek has its own)
I'd like to see how this works out over the long run.
The WIFM in these is very low. Comaraderie alone is not enough.
(Hey, put my name on a barrel like MM)

05-16-2008, 09:37
I'm sure some corporate weeny said in a meeting,"Hey, why can't we do what Maker's did? Only its be bigger, better......."

In fact, the tail has been wagging the dog since Beam acquired MM. Bill Samuels and other Maker's folk have become very influential at the highest levels within Beam corporate and this particular project is from Doe-Anderson, the Louisville agency that has done Maker's advertising from the beginning.

I find the web based beverage sites to be poorly maintained, outdated, lacking content. (Check out HH's bourbon society, they've had the same content for about 3 years.)

Too true, and that will be one of the tests. This does seem like the most web-saavy execution I've seen yet from a beverage company, though.

05-16-2008, 12:16
Wow. Thanks for all the feedback. (And thank you Chuck, for posting your article.)

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have ... even take suggestions to the Beam team.

CigarNV - Appreciate the perspective. Our hope is that one of the subjects might appeal to you and you can join us in helping get them that break. You can comment, ask questions, etc. As the site evolves, we'll have opportunities to help get the photog a gig or the band a spot on a radio show. Hopefully the community support and feedback there will help in those regards.

But I'd love to know if the celebration of character does appeal to you, what could the site do or feature that would make you come back. We're genuinely interested in your feedback, so hit me with it. Any input you have is greatly appreciated.

pepCycle - Well, we're certainly not trying to be the Maker's Mark Ambassadors. It's not really even a membership/club/program. (I'm even pushing to see if we can do away with site registration altogether, so there's more of a free-flow comment situation. It's new territory for Beam. Bear with us on the little kinks.) There's the Brotherhood of Bourbon if you're interested in that from the Beam perspective. (I'm in both BOB and an Ambassador, BTW.)

I'd invite everyone to not only visit the site and tell us what the stuff inside means to you so we can continue to define it. We're eventually going to ask visitors to tell us stories of true character they find in their friends, family, heroes, etc. You said it when you wanted to see how this evolves ... it's going to be a evolutionary thing. We'd love it if you all came and helped us evolve it.

(Sorry to sound promotional-ly)

Bottom line, I'm here. We're listening. Keep telling us what you think and what we can do to make it better.

Thanks again for the feedback. This is great stuff.

05-18-2008, 10:40

I'm new to alcohol and drink JBB and JBW. I like it in my diet Coke as a nightcap. I'll have to visit this new site.


PS: Tried KC, but it just tastes foriegn to me.

05-18-2008, 12:12

Just a few comments:

I would move the Jim Beam section that intros the Stuff Inside to the start after the home page......then the contents.

I really like the Operation Homefront effort.

:) Summer of Fears..hmm...maybe you get "Tears for Fears" to cut a theme song....instead of Everybody wants to Rule the World...> "Everybody wants to Drink Beam" or instead of Shout.....> "Shout, shout, I wanna Beam..."