Jim Beam gives consumers control of building the brand's social media buzz

Beam Global Spirits & Wine, best known as the maker of Jim Beam bourbon, has a distilling tradition older than 200 years.

Client: Beam Global Spirits & Wine (Deerfield, IL)
PR team: Padilla Speer Beardsley (Minneapolis, MN), Qorvis Communications (Washington), and Zezza (New York)
Campaign: The Remake
Duration: January-May 2009
Budget: $300,000

Beam Global Spirits & Wine, best known as the maker of Jim Beam bourbon, has a distilling tradition older than 200 years. But for “The Remake,” it turned its attention to social media, giving consumers – primarily males from 22 to 29 years old – a say in recreating its ad content. The company awarded a grand prize, including a trip to Las Vegas, $25,000, and having the winning video posted on JimBeam.com, to the best video spoof of Jim Beam commercials.

Strategy
“We know who our target demographic is – young, legal-purchase-age males – and we know they're living online and participating in user-generated content programs,” says Whitney Mares, account supervisor at Padilla Speer Beardsley. The spirits company also sought to leverage key influencers, like comedians Max Silvestri and Jenny Slate, to encourage participation, Mares says.

Tactics
The PR team created two microsites – “The Remake” and “The Finalists” – for the campaign, and pitched news about the contest to various bloggers, video sites, trade and consumer press, and national and local radio. Pitching to various types of media, the team also issued a radio news release, and developed applications for Facebook and other social media Web sites, according to Mares.

However, the company also complied with its self-imposed guidelines, targeting only Web sites with readerships 75% over the age of 21, says Dan Cohen, PR manager at Beam.

Results
The company received nearly 300 videos, and increased traffic to JimBeam.com by 20% during the effort. The company also registered 2,393 new member e-mails through the microsite.

Future
No follow-up effort is planned, but Beam “would love to continue to roll out campaigns such as this,” according to Cohen.

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