How do you adapt a 145 year old-brand to a digital age so that it is both relevant and contemporary without sacrificing its core brand values? And how do you make its deep-rooted American heritage resonate in 185 countries? Not only does Carmen D’Ascendis, Director of Global Marketing for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, have the answers, but he proves how marketing cannot be separated from brand management.
In fact, Carmen D’Ascendis’ extraordinary career with Brown-Forman started 20 years ago when he entered the business as a merchandising representative for the company. Since that time he has lived in seven cities on four continents while working in 40 countries on behalf of Brown-Forman and Jack Daniel’s, the world’s best-selling whiskey brand. Forget statistics that measure the tenure of chief marketing officers in intervals of months, Carmen underscores how creativity, innovation and success come with longevity.
His roles and geographies demonstrate a process of brand experience and thought leadership that few achieve. Carmen’s own roots in are in the US, not in Lynchburg, Tennessee—the famous home of Jack Daniels, but in the East Coast state of New Jersey. However, he is unquestionably a true citizen of the world. His international Brown-Forman career began in the late ‘90s in London as Area Manager of Duty-Free for Europe and Scandinavia. He then relocated to Germany to take on his first country-specific Marketing Manager role. That soon led to a new assignment and a new continent when he became Regional Director of Australia and New Zealand. His next transfer took him to Japan as the country’s Commercial Director where he delivered the two best financial years in that market’s history. While based in Tokyo, Carmen took on the additional role of Brand Director for Jack Daniel’s Asia Pacific and uncovered consumer insights that led to the redevelopment of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel as the new “face” of the JD trademark.
He then returned to the US-- to the company’s Louisville, Kentucky headquarters-- to use his international experience as Global Brand Director of the Jack Daniel’s Ready-to-Drink business around the world. He worked closely with country teams in markets as varied as Mexico, Japan and Germany to develop market-specific offerings. And now as Director of Global Marketing for Jack Daniel’s we’ve already seen the highly successful launch of the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey line extension, the “Barrel Tree” campaign that bring family and friends together, a new responsive-designed web site that adapts to any device from smartphone to tablet to computer, and a doubling the brand’s volume growth rate.