Fireball Whisky Zehnder Case Study
In 2010, Fireball had no online presence and stagnant sales. The product faced heavy competition from big-name whiskey brands and had no buy-in from bartenders or distributers. Consumers were unfamiliar with the product and also did not know how to drink it. Sazerac and Zehnder worked together on a marketing strategy that introduced the product to consumers in key US markets with the ultimate goal of making it a go-to shot in bars around the world.
Zehnder’s activation team generated brand awareness through social media outreach and on-the-ground, grassroots-style events in target markets. We aligned ourselves with bartenders through a brand ambassador program and worked with local social media influencers to amplify Fireball’s digital reach. By steering clear of the typical “shot girl” approach in favor of a more authentic brand introduction experience at popular bars across the world, we built a base of dedicated brand evangelists eager to share Fireball with their friends.
As Fireball continued to grow, marketing goals shifted away from brand awareness and toward audience engagement. Zehnder ignited more than a million Fireball followers through authentic social media, blog, and email content. We launched a series of sweepstakes using the Facebook Shortstack application and received more than 20,000 entries. Zehnder developed and built the Dragons, Dice and Dares app to keep Fireball fresh in consumers’ minds at home and in bars.
In 2015, a single instance of a Fireball product recall in the UK rapidly spread as a rumor in the USA. During a period of consumer confusion, Zehnder’s crisis communications team acted fast to deliver the truth. Within hours of the recall rumor, we’d contacted key media members and shifted the brand’s social media strategy. Zehnder was able to minimize negative press and help the brand maintain steady sales.
Facebook fan growth, 2010-2015
Twitter followers, 2010-2015
Instagram followers, 2010-2015
Annual case sales exceeded 4 million, 2015
Influencer support from names like Ed Sheeran, Waka Flocka and Chris Pratt