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How do you tell your brand story? Take a lesson from Jack.

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ST8MNT principals Josh and Bethany Newman attended an inspiring talk by Jack Daniel’s representatives Ted Simmons and Jennifer Powell, called “The Last Time I Saw Lynchburg: How to Build a Successful Global Brand with a Single Selling Message.” Kudos to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce for putting on such a cool event, though some attendees may have showed up for the whiskey samples (and can you blame them?).


Ted Simmons, who began creating ads Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey as a young copywriter in 1967, is now Senior Global Brand Consultant for ad agency Arnold Worldwide. It was refreshing to see him engaged with and excited about the same brand he’s developed for 46 yrs.

He was direct and authentic, saying their “creative brief doesn’t drone on and on with two pages of marketing buzz words. It’s five words: Jack Daniels is American authenticity.”

Ted displayed his work: print ads from the ’70s (still gorgeous), tv spots from the ’90s (still great ideas), and new animated Honey spots (intoxicating with beautiful effects). They all tell the Jack Daniels story and come across as authentic American.

His “maybe” spot:

His “American” spot:

Ted has said, “The role of Jack Daniel’s advertising since the beginning was not to ‘sell whiskey’ as much as it has been to communicate the story of the brand.”

So how do you do that? “It’s what you say, how you say it, and how you show it. The how you show it is the most important part.”

What does your brand stand for? Why do people buy your brand? What attributes of your product beyond function are important? “Make a list of all your answers, and then find a way to celebrate those things in your advertising,” Ted advised.

His “Christmas” spot:

His “Legend” spot:

I did some more digging and figured out why this one is so ultra cool… Danny Clinch, enough said.

Here’s some more great advice on how to tell your brand story from Ted:
1. Tell stories people will connect with
2. Be visual
3. Find your (the brand) personality – be yourself

Jennifer Powell, the great-great-grandniece of Jack Daniels, was also very engaging. She intimately knows the brand inside and out. A funny little tidbit about Lynchburg: they don’t call the miniatures “airplane bottles,” they call them “bottles for babies and beginners.”

Jennifer had some smart things to say about their new product, Honey. After extensive research, they started seeing how lots of folks love what Jack stands for, but don’t quite have the taste for the hard stuff (this would be me — I need liquor to be on the girly side). So they developed Honey, which has a sweeter taste but maintains the authentic attitude you find in Jack Daniels whiskey, and opened up to a larger audience of consumers.

His “Honey” spots:

While it’s fun to drool over beautiful and well-thought-out advertising, the real takeaway is to see how knowing your brand and sticking to that essence and message can impact your bottom line.

Embrace your uniqueness with strength and clarity and you’ll resonate as authentic and memorable in your market. This is what we geek out about at ST8MNT.