“Raised Right” replaces “Make History,” which similarly touched on Beam’s heritage but had prominently featured Mila Kunis. She became the brand’s spokeswoman in 2014. The actress is not shown in the new ads. David Campbell, Beam Suntory’s VP for integrated marketing communications, says Kunis is “still a longstanding partner with us and we are looking forward to our future collaborations together.” But her appearance in future ads is “still to be determined,” he adds.
The new ads will run during the Super Bowl in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and in some markets in Kentucky, where Jim Beam is made. Liquor ads had been prohibited in the Super Bowl, and any other National Football League game, until 2017 when the league lifted the ban. Anheuser Busch InBev holds exclusive alcohol ad rights for the Super Bowl, effectively shutting liquor brands out of national buys.
Still, Beam will get some national recognition during the game, in addition to the local buys, because AB InBev is plugging its Budweiser Copper Lager, a co-branded beer with Jim Beam. The ad is by VaynerMedia. Beam was not involved in the national ad, but “it’s a great opportunity to be able to share a space with them,” Campbell says.
Beam’s new campaign comes as American whiskey continues to experience a multi-year resurgence. Whiskey sales in stores jumped 7 percent in the 52-week period ending Dec. 30 to $2.5 billion, according to IRI. Jim Beam sales surged 12 percent to more than $200 million.
While the “Make History” campaign focused on “quality credentials [and] what goes into crafting a great whiskey,” the “Raised Right” platform “has much more flexibility for us to tell a bit more emotional or cultural story…and share our point of view on the world,” Campbell says.
He described that POV as providing a “gentle reminder for folks just to treat others like you want to be treated, treat people with honesty decency, respect, to listen to each other.”