Why Are People Boycotting Jack Daniel's? LGBTQ Ads Resurface to Ruffle True-Blue Tasters

Melissa Willets - Author

Apr. 7 2023, Updated 10:37 a.m. ET

Jack Daniel's drinkers are loyal to the pricey whiskey brand, but an ad campaign — which isn't even new, but has resurfaced online — is causing some steadfast sippers to rethink their cocktail orders.

An LGBTQ-positive series of ads for Jack Daniel's Fire is behind a call to boycott the brand.

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The promos, which are called "Drag Queen Summer Glamp," feature three drag queens who visit the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn.

We think they're all in good fun! But not all of Jack Daniel's customers feel the spots sit well with their image of the iconic whiskey. Read on for details on the controversy.

So, why exactly are people boycotting Jack Daniel's?

In 2021, Jack Daniel's released a series of promotional spots featuring drag queens Bebe Zahara Benet, Trinity the Tuck, and Manila Luzon, who hail from RuPaul's Drag Race, and who go to Summer Glamp at the Lynchburg-based Jack Daniel's distillery.

You can see the spots on YouTube.

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Somehow the ads are getting renewed attention and have inspired a campaign to boycott the brand entirely. To be clear, not everyone is calling for the boycott, but some irate customers have taken to social media to swear off sipping the pricey whiskey from here on out.

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The Jack Daniel's LGBTQ campaign has good intentions.

In 2021 when the spots were released, Lauren Richmond, then-brand manager for Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire, explained the concept as "a bold new experience — for both the queens and their hosts." She added that the partnership "reaffirms our commitment to the LGBTQ community," but admitted it was an "unexpected partnership."

Meanwhile, Trinity the Tuck said about the LGBTQ campaign, "Jack Daniel's gets drag culture, which is all about celebrating individuality and inviting others to accept you as you are."

Manila Luzon added about the timing of the promos, which coincided with Pride month in 2021, "This is how Pride should be celebrated: with friends — new and old — in a place you would never expect."

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Critics want to know: Is Jack Daniel's "woke"?

Critics allege that more and more brands are "woke," with the most recent example being Nike. The iconic shoe company partnered with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, much to the chagrin of many loyal customers.

Another example of an alcohol brand specifically that has come under fire for being woke is Budweiser, which also teamed up with Dylan in a new spot, angering the likes of recording artist Kid Rock.

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Of course, calls to boycott Nike and Bud Light are also in full effect, as some voices insist on a boycott of Jack Daniel's for being yet another "woke" brand that is out of touch with the ethos of its consumer base.

Many Twitter users say that they don't want a company stuffing "woke" ideology down their throats.

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It's important to note that, given the pushback against Jack Daniel's and similar so-called woke brands, another group of consumers wants to bolster sales and is also taking to Twitter to share that view.

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Ultimately, the calls to boycott Jack Daniel's may not add up to much for the company's bottom line. "Outrage comes and goes, and so do boycotts," Americus Reed, the Whitney M. Young Jr. professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, told The New York Times.

"Companies may suffer short sales dips, but social media boycotts seldom hurt the business bottom line of organizations in the long run," he ultimately said.

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