Whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s this month launched auditions for a brand ambassador in Kenya, as part of its global ‘Gentlemen Wanted’ campaign.

The search itself is set to deliver prominence and brand engagement for the whiskey, far greater than any behind-the-scenes selection of a brand promoter.

“The response we have received so far, since we launched the campaign, has surpassed our expectations, and the engagement we have received from people on social media has been positive,” said, Jack Daniels’ Kenya brand manager, Zara Kuria.

“This will be the first brand ambassador appointment within the Sub-Saharan Africa region (excluding South Africa). We wanted to create a satisfying brand experience that will continue to nurture relationships with our consumers as opposed to going the usual route of approaching a recruitment company or using a social influencer.”

The brand, whose target market is both men and women, despite the name of the campaign, has set up the audition process on its Facebook page, where successful applicants will be reviewed by a panel of judges and the public will then vote for the finalist from the shortlisted candidates.

With this approach, Jack Daniel’s is capturing consumer’s attention, and enticing them to participate in what the brand is offering.

“Consumers like things that could potentially have a ‘happy ending’ and are more likely to take part, even if there is a chance that they will not be a part of the winning at the end. It captures their imagination; increases their expectation and they immediately want to engage with the brand and find out more about what it is offering,” said Bruce Gumo, a marketing analyst BizTrace, a marketing solutions agency.

“Even when the overall winner is announced, the consumers that participated, but did not win, will still feel a connection to the brand and will continue engaging with it through purchase or in any other way and take pride in telling others that they participated in an audition for the brand.”

Such an open selection from across the general public has been a tool used several times by the film industry, in creating media and public attention ahead of a new movie.

In 2013, Hollywood film and entertainment firm, The Walt Disney Company announced it would hold open auditions in the US and UK seeking cast for the popular science fiction movie, Star Wars.

The move served to engage young movie goers ahead of the release of the new film in the franchise after a ten-year gap.

In the UK, the first day of the open casting calls drew more than 2,800 people, mostly aged between 16 and 25, with the first person in line having waited overnight for 18 hours. By the end of the audition process, more than 37,000 hopefuls had attended the casting calls.

However, for such a marketing strategy to work, the brand needs to engage with consumers directly and transparently.

“Consumers will not participate in an audition where a brand is considered not to be truthful in its approach,” said Gumo.

– African Laughter

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