Case Study

Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue

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In the fall of 1989, a handful of competitors gathered in Lynchburg, Tennessee, for a friendly barbecue competition. Twenty-seven years later, the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue is known in the barbecue community as the most prestigious competition in the world. In 2015, The Jack™, as it is known to competitors, celebrated more than a quarter-century of smoke, whiskey and community with barbecue fans from around the world.

Jack Daniel’s overall brand objective is to make every adult a friend of Jack by creating satisfying brand experiences that nurture a relationship for life. The traditional Jack fan includes males, age 21-49, who are straight-forward and sincere. However, our goal is to also make fans of media who reach key consumer groups and have an interest in barbecue, travel and distilled spirits.

Deserts at Jack Daniel's BBQ Tennessee public relations event managed by DVL Seigenthaler


Challenges / Objectives / Implementation

Key responsibilities include promoting the event through media relations, identifying key local, regional and national media targets and engaging them as contest judges, and on-site media management and logistics. In addition, DVL Seigenthaler assists the Distillery with overall event management and creates the iconic collectors’ posters for the competition.


Furthermore, we develop and manage a media site ( and an electronic news release. The media site featured customized landing pages for all 76 domestic teams. The market-specific media sites included an event news release, list of teams, schedule of events, information on past winners, Jack Daniel’s recipes, high-res photos and broadcast quality b-roll.


Media judges who accepted our invitation included Ben Setiawan, Esquire Magazine; Dan Gentile, Thrillist; Jay Cheshes, The Wall Street Journal; Jeremy Berger, Gear Patrol; Joe Hudak, Rolling Stone Country; Alicia Miller, Sunday Times Travel Magazine (UK); Storme Warren, Sirius XM’s The Highway; and Paul Kita, Men’s Health.

DVL Seigenthaler created three posters that were distributed to teams, judges and media. The posters have become an iconic souvenir and are particularly hot sellers at Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg Hardware and General Store.

One of the challenges of The Jack™ is to secure coverage for the Jack Daniel’s brand during an event that is all about barbecue. To create a unique media experience that increased brand exposure but complemented the weekend’s primary agenda, DVL Seigenthaler created and executed a media-only VIP event that included an informative tasting with Master Distiller Jeff Arnett featuring a new, limited-availability release from the distillery, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Barrel Proof Whiskey.


DVL Seigenthaler’s efforts secured a broadcast audience of more than 4.9 million, more than 165 million internet impressions, and a print audience of more than 8.1 million, with a publicity value of nearly $598,000. Every national media judge filed a story in the weeks following the event.

In the three months surrounding the event, the media site garnered more than 13,000 visits and more than 44,000 page views. And, according to Jack Daniel’s analytics, more than 1.1 million users were reached through related Facebook posts.

The barbecue also drew a crowd of nearly 24,000 attendees to the Jack Daniel Distillery.