- Jack Daniel's, the Tennessee Whiskey brand owned by wine and spirits maker Brown-Forman, this week released an augmented reality (AR) app that brings its whiskey bottles to life. The Jack Daniel's AR Experience app lets mobile users scan any of its bottles to unlock a series of pop-up book style dioramas that tell the history of the brand.
- The first AR experience transforms the front label into a miniature version of the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The second experience shows how the whiskey is distilled and aged, and the third features stories about the original Jack Daniel, who was born in 1850.
- The spirits brand worked with Tactic, a San Francisco-based company specializing in the production of immersive experiences, to develop the app. The mobile tool is available for free from Apple's App Store and Google Play.
AR technology gives a liquor brand like Jack Daniel's a chance to transform its packaging into engaging experiences that tell a more complete brand story than other media allow, such as TV and radio.
Jack Daniel's has historically spent heavily on print ads that highlighted distinct features about its manufacturing process, including charcoal filtering that mellows the taste of its whiskey. With the broad shift in media consumption to mobile devices, AR technology is adding a new dimension to mobile marketing. That includes the ability to transform product packaging into immersive advertising that appeals to young adults who tend to seek original experiences and greater authenticity from brands.
The Jack Daniel's AR Experience app is the whiskey brand's latest effort to engage consumers through digital media. Three years ago, the brand created an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience and last year began its first official podcast called "Around the Barrel" to capitalize on the growing podcasting trend that gives audiences more choices — and advertisers more opportunities — than traditional formats like radio.
Jack Daniel's is among the alcohol brands that have incorporated AR-enhanced storytelling to their marketing campaigns. Shackleton Whiskey, Jägermeister, Patrón and Diageo's Bulleit Bourbon, among others, have developed interactive mobile campaigns aimed at prolonging brand exposure and providing richer experiences for customers. These entertaining brand interactions are more likely to cut through traditional ad clutter and improve brand recall among ad-fatigued consumers.
AR was popularized in 2016 with the rollout of mobile game Pokémon Go that urged players to explore their real surroundings as they used their smartphones to collect geolocated virtual objects. Apple a year later introduced ARKit, a software development kit to help companies including retailers and brand marketers to more easily create AR-powered apps and add immersive features to their digital offerings. Google soon followed suit with the introduction of its own ARCore SDK for Android devices in March 2018. Since then, brands have ramped up the development of AR features in their apps and mobile websites.