A Toast to Jack Daniels’ COVID Ad

With Love, Jack

Jack Daniels


As the US – in common with most other Western markets – prepares for potentially months of social distancing, advertisers have scrambled to respond to a consumer reality that’s changed overnight.

As part of our Coronavirus Tracker and our Test Your Ad service, we’ve been monitoring every new ad that airs in response to the crisis, looking for creative pathways which prove an emotional success with audiences.

Our Ad Of The Week this week comes from Jack Daniels, whose “With Love, Jack” is one of several commercials which takes a reassuring tone. But “With Love, Jack” goes a little further, celebrating the resilience and creativity of a population getting used to staying at home and social distancing – and making the most of it. Physical separation doesn’t have to mean a loss of togetherness.

This isn’t new territory for advertisers – tech and telecoms players have made powerful adverts along similar lines, for instance the previous AOTW from Facebook Groups showing a military mom using remote technology to celebrate Christmas with her family back home.

But, of course, it’s not just the military discovering the power – and limitations – of screens as a social connector. It’s everyone. And that means brands like Jack Daniels, with a wider interest in socialising, can give themselves permission to get involved. With a strong 4-Star score, the ad makes its emotional point well.

It’s a big departure from previous Jack Daniels advertising, and that shows up in somewhat low Fluency and unexceptional Spike scores. As a rapid response to the crisis, though, it’s a very good performance. Most of the top-performing ads relating to COVID-19 take this positive, celebratory tone, whether it’s celebrating hard-pressed retail staff or the medical personnel on the crisis frontline. (See Walmart’s Sam’s Club for another strong 4-Star example).

“With Love, Jack” is also a good spotlight of another creative trend born of the crisis – heavy use of stock footage, user-generated content and montages. With film production halted in this phase of the emergency, brands are forced to fall back on these resources. It’s a credit to Energy BBDO that the ad feels so natural and human, with a lot of right-brained between-ness and a heartfelt rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s classic “True Colours” tying it all together.

As the crisis continues to reshape consumer behaviour and response, brands will need to move their response on from initial reassurance to more positive advertising which makes stronger use of their distinctive assets and brand characters. We’ll be looking out for the ones which best rise to the challenge. Meanwhile, a toast to Jack Daniels for raising spirits right now.