Jack Daniel’s Celebrates Bad Gifts & Holiday Sweaters in #ItsTheThoughtThatCounts

jdholiday-siteAs shoppers far and wide search for the perfect gifts for their special someones, whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s has a solution for those on the receiving end of gifts that don’t quite hit the mark. Their #ItsTheThoughtThatCounts campaign asks consumers to share images of their worst gifts.

The effort is tied to the brand’s third consecutive Barrel Tree campaign, which is meant to conjure up warm, fuzzy holiday feelings.

#ItsTheThoughtThatCounts, however, adds some cheer to the mix as well, while tapping into the communal experience of receiving the wrong gift.

The brand says it is launching #ItsTheThoughtThatCounts to kick off the season, “…when mobs of good intentioned consumers are scooping up stocking stuffers for unsuspecting friends and relatives.”

Instead of hiding those bad gifts, Jack Daniel’s says consumers should instead photograph their awful gifts and share them across social media for the world to see, by tagging them with #ItsTheThoughtThatCounts.

Contestants can upload photos at JDHoliday.com or enter via Twitter or Instagram. They can also cast votes for the “best of the worst” on the website and share their selections on Twitter and Facebook.

As of November 26, the brand had received over 400 entries.

In addition, Shannon Coletti, senior marketing producer at advertising agency Arnold Worldwide, which created the campaign, says 20 percent of visitors are coming back to the site more than five times.

After a public vote that begins December 16, the owners of the 20 worst posted gifts will receive “the greatest holiday gift anyone could ever hope for,” or a limited-edition, hand-knitted Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 holiday sweater, in the second week of January.

According to Coletti, a panel of judges will also be involved to “make sure we’re giving the most creative entries their due.”

The brand’s Barrel Tree campaign launched on TV on Black Friday. The 2012 Barrel Tree spot has about 247,000 views on YouTube.

“It’s really a sweet and emotional spot from Jack Daniel’s that tugs at the heartstrings,” says Eric Doninger, vice president and global marketing creative director of the Jack Daniel’s family of brands at spirits and wine company Brown-Forman. “[The idea is that] it’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s around it… so we wanted to continue to leverage that emotion, but perhaps through this #ItsTheThoughtThatCounts idea, we have that emotion, but put a little smile to it as well.”

#ItsTheThoughtThatCounts launched November 20. Entries include a Chia Obama, a hair pillow with ugly pants fabric, a fake rooster, a rubber chicken purse, a banana protector, a sumo wrestler side table and many others, a rep says.

Doninger says the campaign targets the brand’s Facebook fans. Jack Daniel’s has 4.3 million likes.

However, according to Coletti, the target is “much larger than usual” because “the holidays are such a broad topic” and the brand is reaching out to anyone who “can appreciate the sentiment we’re celebrating.”

Jack Daniel’s is pushing the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ItsTheThoughtThatCounts and with paid media on Hulu, Yahoo and Buzzfeed.

In addition, photos of the winners and their sweaters will be posted on social media to “extend the buzz and goodwill generated by the digital experience beyond the holidays,” the brand says.

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