Fireball Whisky logo.

Fireball Whisky Zehnder Case Study

The Client
Fireball Whisky

Fireball Whisky is a cinnamon whisky that “tastes like heaven, burns like hell.” The drink is produced by the Sazerac Company and distributed across the globe. Zehnder began marketing Fireball in 2010, when the drink was virtually unknown. Five years later, we’d helped the product achieve success worldwide, with annual sales exceeding 4 million cases.
The Strategy
Building a Brand from the Ground Up

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.

Activating Audiences Worldwide

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.

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Establishing an Online Presence

Our social media team carefully crafted the brand voice of Fireball, which was refreshingly honest, sarcastically smart-mouthed, and even downright rude at times — without ever overstepping industry marketing regulations, of course. Our digital department incorporated the Fireball “swagger” into every pixel of the custom website we designed and built for the brand, which contains a recipe database hosting 100+ cocktails that we developed and photographed in-house, as well as content marketing and e-commerce sections.

Engage, Engage, Engage

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.

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Dragons, Dice & Dares App

First off, we dare you to download this app. Next, you can do what our cards and dice – or even worse, your fellow players – tell you to do. Flip virtual cards, roll virtual dice, and do some crazy stuff. Open this app to play with up to five friends at home or at the bar – and you should probably open up a bottle of Fireball, too.

If you can handle the heat of Fireball Whisky, let’s see if you can handle the strength of our new Dragons, Dice, and Dares app. Play this game to get the dirt on your friends and start the party. We’ll warn you now: things get a lot crazier than a clothing swap.

Clarity in a Time of Crisis

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.

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Fireball Whisky Promo

We helped Fireball Whisky to 'Ignite the Night' with a promo spot that put animated branded tattoos on customers. On YouTube alone there were more than 40,000 unique views early in the launch of the product, adding invaluable brand recognition with key demographics.

The Results
Spread Like Fire

Working with a brand like Fireball allowed us to share our love of puns with the world, but we were also able to share some pretty exciting growth too!
900K+
Facebook Growth
Facebook fan growth, 2010-2015
90K+
Twitter Growth
Twitter followers, 2010-2015
53K+
Instagram Growth
Instagram followers, 2010-2015
4M+
Annual Case Sales
Annual case sales exceeded 4 million, 2015
Sheeran + Pratt
High-Profile Influencers
Influencer support from names like Ed Sheeran, Waka Flocka and Chris Pratt
900K+
Facebook Growth

Facebook fan growth, 2010-2015

90K+
Twitter Growth

Twitter followers, 2010-2015

53K+
Instagram Growth

Instagram followers, 2010-2015

4M+
Annual Case Sales

Annual case sales exceeded 4 million, 2015

Sheeran + Pratt
High-Profile Influencers

Influencer support from names like Ed Sheeran, Waka Flocka and Chris Pratt

Listen Hub

Listen Hub is how we gather such in-depth statistics about all of our projects. Using breakthrough technology, we sift through multiple channels – social media, blogs, web traffic, search engines, videos and customer relationship management software – to analyze real-time conversations taking place about your brand.
Learn About Listen Hub
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