How Jagermeister is Dealing with Fireball’s Challenge

One of the best-selling liquor brands in the world is Jagermeister. Since 1935 it has consistently been a favorite of hardcore and casual drinkers who just want a good time. But don’t look now as the brand is being threatened by a relatively young whiskey, Fireball.

The spicy cinnamon-flavored Canadian whisky has been heating up bar counters in the past few years. Last year, stats showed it had surpassed Jagermeister in popularity. According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research company, the sales total of Fireball was at $131 million compared to the $81 million of the German brand. What is more alarming for Jagermeister is that its sales slipped by 3.8 percent. On the other hand, Fireball sales more than doubled last year.

The German company has conceded that its position in the market is being challenged by the aggressive pricing of its competitors. For instance, a bottle of Fireball is around $6 cheaper than Jagermeister.

But it is not only in the United States where Jagermeister is getting a lot of competition. The same is true in other countries. In global sales, the German company’s sales have dropped by 5.6 percent. Even in social media, Jagermeister is getting beaten by Fireball. There are nearly 100,000 Twitter followers for Fireball which is more than double of that of Jägermeister.

Marketing Campaign

Jagermeister has responded by launching a big marketing campaign in the U.S., the first for the company since 2012. The campaign called “56 Parts, Best as One” is geared at increasing awareness on the spirit’s ingredients like orange peel, ginger root and cinnamon.

The campaign also follows the trend in the alcohol beverage industry of communicating to the public how beverages are concocted. The new generation of drinkers is especially interested in what goes into their foods and drinks.

The firm tapped Agency Deutsch, a New-York based firm, for the campaign that focuses on the German drink’s rich heritage. Three talented illustrators were tasked to create unique illustrations that were inspired by the brand’s pillars of heritage, ingredients, and process. These illustrations or pillars have been photographed, and the images will be used in the campaign across all platforms.

Mixing with Ginger Beer

Another campaign that Jagermeister has launched is one that promotes its liquor for mixing with ginger beer. The signature Root56 has the liquor being served over ice with ginger beer and lime.

The campaign, which has been launched recently in the United Kingdom, was named after the complex and secret blend of 56 roots, herbs, and fruits of the liquor, including ginger.

According to Jagermeister, Root56 will serve as a refreshing way for drinkers to enjoy the liquor. It adds that the campaign would tap into the consumer’s changing tastes. Still, the firm admits that the ice-cold shot remains as its number one serve.

The campaign which would run for five months includes outdoor, print and digital advertisements. It will also focus on social media to drive reach out to its audience, particularly the millennials.

No New Flavors

Jagermeister isn’t about to match up with Fireball by launch new flavors similar to what it did in 2013 when it had a line extension that was a vanilla and cinnamon blend.

The Jagermeister Spice was highlighted vanilla and cinnamon and more importantly, bottled at a lower 50 proof. It can even be drunk at room temperature. The scent was priced at $22 per 750 mL bottle.

Other competitors, however, have unveiled new concoctions in order to match up with Fireball.

Jim Beam for instance is releasing the Jim Beam Apple this July. The new apple expression follows several flavored Bourbons that the company has released in the past few years in an attempt to stay relevant to millennial drinkers.

Jim Beam Apple will join the company’s existing flavours Maple, Honey, and Red Stag, as well as the Jim Beam Kentucky Fire, a cinnamon-flavored concoction.

Jack Daniels has also joined in the fray hoping to take a slice out of Fireball’s market. The new product, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, is a 70 proof whiskey that is finely crafted and blended with the firm’s own red hot cinnamon liquor. Obviously, Jack Daniels is ranging the Tennessee Fire against Fireball, which controls almost 80 percent of the cinnamon-flavored whiskey market.

However, early reviews indicate that both the Jim Beam and Jack Daniel concoctions are far from unseating Fireball as the best-selling whiskey today. Many experts point out that Jim Beam Apple and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire both have a distinctively whisky taste, unlike Fireball which has a very strong cinnamon flavor.

So would Jagermeister’s approach make it relevant among today’s drinkers? The jury is still out. It remains to be seen whether Jagermeister’s marketing campaigns would be enough to stall its declining sales and stop the juggernaut that is Fireball whisky.

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