This paper takes a case study approach to investigate how heritage brands can reach new desired
markets, particularly those whom they have traditionally excluded. Through an interpretive analysis
of bourbon brand Jim Beam’s advertising campaign featuring American actress Mila Kunis, it
studies the changing representation of women in the contemporary spirits industry to explore the
tensions between the nostalgic/authentic positioning of heritage brands and their attempts to reach
traditionally excluded markets. The analysis finds that a combination of anchoring strategies
(‘roots’) and extension strategies (‘branches’) are mobilised in an attempt to maintain continuity for
existing consumers while improving perceived accessibility for traditionally excluded consumers.
In doing so, it provides preliminary insights into the gendered nature and cultural functions of
commercialised nostalgia, as well as suggesting some potential paths of connection between
heritage brands and their new desired audiences.
Australia New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference, Adelaide, Australia, 3–5 December 2018
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