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How Jack Daniel's Evoked the Spirit of Its Founder
3/2/2017

How Jack Daniel's Evoked the Spirit of Its Founder

See how the whiskey brand celebrated its founder with an elaborate two-night party during N.B.A. All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

By Mitra Sorrells
Source: BizBash

NEW ORLEANS Jack Daniel, the man who created the whiskey of the same name, was said to have been a very social person who enjoyed entertaining in his home in Lynchburg, Tennessee. That lore is the basis of the brand’s House No. 7 activation, which it built inside Mardi Gras World in New Orleans February 16 and 17 as part of N.B.A. All-Star Weekend. The experiential event marked the debut of the brand’s multiyear marketing partnership with the N.B.A.

“Jack Daniel the man always wanted and liked to invite friends over. This was a way for us, in a very immersive, fun way, to tell our Jack Daniel’s stories while at the same time providing that opportunity for our friends to have a great time and create their own stories with Jack Daniel’s,” said Jesus Ostos, Jack Daniel’s senior brand manager. “All-Star Weekend is one of the main temple events for the N.B.A., and it was perfect timing for us to get together and celebrate together in New Orleans.”

Around 2,000 guests visited the experience the first night and 3,000 the second. As they entered the 35,000-square-foot space, they were greeted by staff behind what looked like a boarding house check-in counter who handed out R.F.I.D. wristbands that guests could swipe to receive and share photos from around the event. Throughout the two-story experience, guests could sip cocktails, learn about the brand’s production process, and visit a variety of elaborately decorated rooms. Some were intended to represent common experiences when people drink Jack Daniel’s, such as an electronic dance music room and a bachelorette party room, while others related to basketball, such as a replica of an N.B.A. dressing room.

“Jack and music have always been related,” Ostos said, so the event also had multiple entertainment elements including a DJ, karaoke machines, a mock recording studio, and closing performances each night by T-Pain. Behind a hidden door, organizers created a replica of Daniel’s famous White Rabbit Saloon that could hold about 150 people at a time. Guests were granted entry into the speakeasy-style space if they received a white rabbit foot from one of the roaming brand ambassadors.

Created in partnership with Mirrorball, House No. 7 is the updated version of the Motel No. 7 activation that the brand has used in New York and Miami. The “No. 7” references the brand’s tagline as “Old No. 7,” the original name of the whiskey.

As guests entered the 35,000-square-foot space, they were greeted by costumed staff and given an R.F.I.D. wristband to save and share photos.

Staff dressed as housekeepers walked around the event, pushing a cart with toilet paper and cleaning supplies to tie into the idea that guests were at a party in Jack Daniel's house.

Jack Daniel's House No. 7 at N.B.A. All-Star Weekend included a variety of rooms with different themes, such as one meant to evoke the feeling of an electronic dance music party.

The brand created a virtual-reality experience that transported guests to the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Both nights T-Pain performed for guests on a stage backed by whiskey barrels used as decor and speakers.

The bachelorette-party room was filled with bright colors and a karaoke machine.

To connect the experience to the brand's N.B.A. partnership, organizers added several basketball-theme areas, including a room designed to look like an N.B.A. dressing room.

Throughout the night, organizers invited some of the guests behind a hidden door and into a soundproof lounge that was meant to replicate Jack Daniel's famous White Rabbit Saloon.

After listening to a presentation from a Jack Daniel's barrel master, guests were invited to leave their signatures on a barrel.

Jack Daniel's partnered with a local salon, which sent stylists to provide hair cuts and styling services at the party.

Organizers added elements throughout the house to tie the experience to N.B.A. All-Star Weekend.

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