Last week, Jack Daniel’s opened the doors to its Motel No. 7 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The two-day event allowed guests to experience Jack Daniel’s iconic Tennessee whiskey while immersing themselves in an eclectic brand experience. Motel No. 7, which plays off the iconic and mysterious number attached to Jack Daniel’s, was housed in an enormous warehouse and was probably one of the largest activations I’ve ever been to. I really want to know how much the brand forked over to produce something like this.

When I entered Motel No. 7, I was immediately surprised with how huge the event was, as there were so many things happening at once. There was an indoor pool near the entrance where guests can get free Jack Daniel’s swimsuits and take a dip. There were four bars the kept Jack Daniel’s whiskey flowing all night long, in an attempt to win the tastes of the hundreds of attendees. After securing a Jack and Coke, folks could then jump in the photo booth, play pool or pinball, get their haircut, or even get their name engraved on a piece of a wood from barrels that Jack Daniel’s used to distill its whiskey. And this was only on the ground floor.

There was an upstairs area where several motel rooms hosted unique experiences. It was a total mess to get up there and it seemed that VIP guests were the ones with priority, so I sadly didn’t get to check out the rooms. However I heard there was karaoke, a room with a bunch of pillows to dive into, and even one that had Andrew W.K. officiating weddings. But I had free Jack Daniel’s and an endless amount of bite sized breakfast food, which was being served throughout the night, so I was contempt.

Jack Daniel’s Senior Brand Manager Jesus Ostos stated that Motel No. 7 “channeled the brand’s link to pop culture to bring a unique and unexpected experience for consumers that’s synonymous with its Tennessee Whiskey”. I had a good time, but I thought the overall event was pretty random. It would’ve been way more memorable and legit if Jack Daniel’s actually took over an actual motel. The randomness only continued with the musical entertainment for the night.

Queens-bred Indian American rapper Heems (from Das Racist) opened the show with some material that I wasn’t that into, but he did cover Donnell Jones’ “Where I Wanna Be” for some reason. Eventually, the immaculate king of hooks, T-Pain, took the stage and sent me on a time warp to my college days. I remember hearing “I’m Sprung” for the first time in 2005 and instantly doubted this dude using autotune to mask his lack of singing ability. Well, 10 years and a bazillion hits later, T-Pain proved me wrong. His performance covered his biggest songs, including those he only sang the chorus on, which made me realized how long his catalogue is. Very few artists have such a resume, so T-Pain deserves major props.

Shoutout to Jack Daniel’s for the fun and interesting evening. Motel No. 7 will be popping up in Miami, Austin, Los Angeles, and Chicago, so visit the respective site to find out where they’re coming.

Peep some of the dope event pictures by Nicky Digital . Way better than anything I snapped. Check out more on his page.

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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