Chapter 14Mr. Ambassador

The concept of a spokesperson, someone who represents a product or brand and touts its many advantages, enduring quality, amazing taste, and superior service, is hardly new. Spokespeople have been around for a long time. Celebrities, actors, athletes, doctors, authors, and experts have been part of the marketing game for years. Spokespeople are chosen for their appeal: their looks, popularity, personality, and credibility. What they don't know about the brands they're representing they can easily learn in a short period of time. Just read the press materials: Hold the product up high if you're on TV. Smile and say you use it, say it's delicious. Memorize a handful of message points and rehearse them in the limo on the way over to the event or the studio. Marketing 101.

When the marketing team at Beam started to get a few requests from distributors and retailers asking for Booker—the master distiller of Jim Beam Brands, the maker of this new high-end, super-premium bourbon, the grandson of Jim Beam, the guy in that music video—to come and maybe give a short talk about whiskey making, Beam was a little hesitant to oblige. Meet-and-greets at the distillery for special visitors and one-on-one interviews with writers in the comfort of his own living room was one thing. But asking the Big Man to put on a coat and tie, get on a plane, and talk at an event at maybe some fancy bar or restaurant, to smile and say all the right things, was another matter. It might ...

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