One year into its multiyear partnership with the National Basketball Association, Jack Daniel’s is placing more focus on promotions that give consumers the chance to experience its iconic distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn.

The Brown-Forman brand leveraged this month’s 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center with the following promotions:

  • A VR experience at the Jack Daniel’s House No. 7 where consumers could take a virtual tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery
  • A pop-up store in downtown Los Angeles that replicated the look and feel of Jack Daniel’s general store in Lynchburg, Tenn.
  • An NBA fantasy camp sweepstakes that dangles a trip to the distillery and the opportunity to play in a game coached by Muggsy Bogues and Robert Horry.

And the brand is planning more promotions that drive consumers to its Tennessee hometown.

“We’re planning for 2019, and Lynchburg is the first ingredient,” said Laura Petry, director, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

Brown-Forman partnered with the NBA in January 2017 as a platform to draw a new generation of Jack Daniel’s customers. The brand had previously sponsored a handful of NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA teams, including the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

“As we were looking to bring new consumers into the franchise and what makes sense to reach a younger, multicultural consumer, the NBA was clearly the place to go,” said Petry, noting that the league aligns with Brown-Forman’s corporate values of integrity, loyalty and community.

The NBA exceeds the size and scope of the Professional Bull Riders, Jack Daniel’s other national sponsorship. The brand uses the bull riding tour to support its western heritage and engage loyal drinkers.

“The NBA is, by far, the largest sports sponsorship in our history.”

In addition to promoting its Tennessee hometown, Jack Daniel’s leveraged the 2018 NBA All-Star Game with a 360-degree activation program that included experiences and promotions at the Staples Center and other locations throughout Los Angeles. That included whiskey tastings, musical performances, appearances by NBA legends, limited-edition New Era/Jack Daniel’s hats and a custom Nike Air Force 1 sneaker inspired by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey.

The Nike Air Force 1 sneaker represents Jack Daniel’s first foray into custom shoes, said Petry. The Shoe Surgeon created 67 pairs of the shoe to commemorate the 67th edition of the NBA All-Star Game. Jack Daniel’s gave the shoes to influencers and consumers (via consumer promotions), with the rest auctioned off in support of local charities.

Jack Daniel’s also leverages the NBA at on- and off-premise accounts via NBA-themed drinks and cobranded gift packs.

“There are NBA fans everywhere. Even if they are not in an NBA team market, we can still reach them through on-and off-premise activations.”

And the partnership is already starting to pay dividends. Jack Daniel’s has seen stronger orders for its NBA-themed gift package than any other special package it has brought to market.

“We’re thrilled with the success of the sponsorship so far.”

Jack Daniel’s supports the NBA league partnership with ties to ten teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

Jack Daniel’s also is an active sponsor at the local level. Ties include the Goldrush music festival in Phoenix, Rodeo Austin and Winter Park ski resort in Colorado.

The brand spearheads local sponsorships on behalf of field marketing reps and distributors, with corporate sometimes providing financial assistance.