When Maurice Tebele and Martin Hoffstein were out for a drink, they noticed the same thing when looking at the bar — all of the bottles were bland, boring, and not very colorful. So they decided to do something about it.
The duo crafted JAJA (pronounced ha-ha), a tequila brand inspired by their trip to Jalisco, Mexico that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
But with strict regulations in the spirit industry and a crowded liquor market, not just anyone can create a breakthrough tequila. Despite the odds, Maurice and Martin have grown the brand to be a household name sold in over 2000 locations thanks to inventive marketing campaigns. But at the end of the day, their work reflects the fact that they’re just looking to have a good time — and hopefully, customers will want to join in on the fun.
In this episode of The Empowered Marketer, we’ll discuss:
- Why sustainable and eco-friendly production is a core focus for the brand
- How Maurice and Martin uses Instagram to build their brand, create influencer relationships, and communicate directly with customers
- How the founders have experimented with paid marketing and out-of-home advertising campaigns
Listen to the Full Episode
Read the Top 4 Takeaways
Cara Hogan: There are so many different liquor brands out there and tons of tequila brands. How have you differentiated yourself in such a crowded market?
Maurice Tebele: In our opinion, a lot of the brands before us have similar marketing campaigns, with similar cocktail shots on their social feeds. Our brand is really lighthearted and we don’t take ourselves seriously. It’s all about having fun, so a lot of the messaging on social is engaging with our audience in ways brands have never done before in the spirits space. The branding is different. When we were designing our glass and the bottle, we sat with different bartenders to come up with a design that felt really comfortable in everybody’s hands. So it was really thoughtful in terms of every touchpoint of the bottle and messaging.
Cara: Who’s the target market that you’re going after?
Martin Hoffstein: Definitely a younger consumer who’s looking to upgrade from an entry-level brand into something more luxurious. So it’s kind of a segue brand. And then when they taste it, it’s the type of thing that you can just keep on drinking for the rest of your life. It’s not like a stepping stone brand because it is super premium quality tequila in that bottle. It’s triple distilled. It’s aged in the finest barrels, over where Reposado is. All the methods we use are traditional. The product is really top-notch.
Cara: Why did you decide to focus on sustainability when creating JAJA?
Martin: We realized how important it is to keep this Earth clean. There are just so many different things that are working against us in the industrialization of the world. And I see personally that the world is making a shift towards trying to save the world, and we wanted to be part of that movement. And you asked what makes us sustainable. Everything we do is sustainable from top to bottom.
I think it’s kind of expected now in any new startup. Maybe we’re not getting the same type of response because everyone’s doing it now. But it doesn’t really matter what kind of response we get. We do that because we believe that the company should be eco-friendly. It’s not something that we’re looking to do as a marketing stunt.
Cara: Can you tell me about your social media strategy and what’s working well for you?
Maurice: We created our Instagram account to be the conduit of communication between us and our audience and our fan base. And we’ve created really fun, engaging pictures that are almost random but ironic in a lot of ways. And they love it. And we listen to our followers, right?
It’s funny. We posted a picture a couple months ago of an ice cream truck meme, designed as a tequila truck. We got a ton of feedback. We got hundreds of DMs and emails asking if the truck was real. And then over the last couple of months we’ve secured an old ice cream truck on eBay, bought it, and it’s actually being delivered to us tomorrow. So we’re super excited to now show how a picture that we posted as almost a joke has become this reality. And that’s really what the brand is all about — having fun, connecting with an audience, and being different and not like everyone else.