Jack makes it Count as Ikea offends Zed

07 Oct,2020


By Sanjeev Kotnala


There must be something in the drink that the liquor companies keep coming back with these insightful and motivational campaigns. No, I do not doubt what stiff drink can do to you, but wonder if the creative team is high on the same brand they are selling. Now the ‘Make it Count’ campaign by Energy BBDO for the brand Jack Daniel asks you to ‘Do what you always wanted to do’. It is something any person who has ever hand a drink will empathise with.


We all know, a drink definitely is a facilitator for such acts. My friend Vermajee, the highly respected brand and marketing consultant, is in absolute awe of these copywriters who find new genuine ways to express the same feelings and emotions.


The brand spokesperson wants us to believe that the campaign reflects the bold spirit of the founder, ‘Mr Jack’ by inspiring the audience to do something they always wanted to do. One may doubt the first part, but the second part is absolute truth, ask anyone who has had enough.


When you do ‘What you always wanted to do but for some reason never did’, you do feel great. The question is, does it count? No, and that’s why the brand says ‘make it count’ by cutting across the most common denominator. After all, the brand is proudly served in fine establishments and questionable joints.” ”



The act of throwing the phone into water, or the caddy taking the shot or someone silly on the nth drink calling for the drink on him. I am a bit confused on this ‘Make it count’. At the same time, I understand ‘What you always wanted to do,’ And if this is the kind of things Jack Daniel drinkers, first time or otherwise want to do, well the drink must get off my bar.

You know what the spokesman is drinking when he says, “The values of Jack Daniel resonant around the world and translate beyond our whiskey-making into something with larger cultural impact.”

In the  Campaign article, the spokesperson says, “Make It Count is a simple articulation of living boldly and making the most of every moment.” Wonderful- Give him another drink.




Vermajee had a classical rejoinder. It does not count, if doing what you wanted to do, and doing it boldly is an answer to the trapped impulsive urge. It only counts in life, when it is a result of a thought out, open-eyed conscious act. And for a change, I think he is bang on.




Verma saw the short clip of ad in Spanish and read somewhere that the campaign footprint covered India. He laughed and then told me, he was thinking of possible regional versions, in case Jack Daniel decides to do a Punjabi, Marathi and Bengali version. Moreover, he wanted to know if it will be Jack Daniel soda, cut glasses, adventure trips or condoms- that will make it count.

The above is inspired by the article in Campaign India and facilitated by three rounds of Antiquity Blue topped with soda over Mangalorean Namkeen Mixture of Namkeen. I never liked JD, and I have a polarised taste- so though I would love my Black Label or Teachers I would enjoy my Old Monk more, and in Punjab, it is always VAT69.




We are trapped. We have highly sensitive and insecure religious groups, or someone is pulling a fast one. The recent advertisement of Ikea in Australia that incorporates yoga  postures must have been watched more after the client decided to not-promote if. Oh, it is available on YouTube.


It seems that someone called ‘Universal Society of Hinduism’ objected on Ikea trivialising yoga  and the company apologised. It further clarified that the yoga ad was unpromoted on social media, and Ikea Retail Australia will not re-activate it.


Wow no withdrawal, just unpromoted! And ‘Universal Society of Hinduism’ thanked IKEA, urging them to completely withdraw. And then everyone goes home happy having averted a crisis.


I fail to understand how the use of Yoga offends Hindu Sentiment. No sentiment was hurt with the commercialisation of the path to god in Hot Yoga, Beer Yoga and even Bikram Yoga. And even the movie PK did not offend.




Universal Society Of Hinduism ( USofH) started in the mind of Hindu statesman, Rajan Zed one who claims to represents Hindus. His claim to fame, offering Hindu prayers before 17 other legislative bodies, including in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Alaska and campaigning against the commodification of Hinduism and Hindu symbols in American culture.


His campaigned causes list is long. It included a campaign against the use of the image of Lord Ganesha on an outdoor store’s yoga mat towel. Against Virginia brewery for naming a Spanish milk stout Hanuman. Against the use of Ganesha image on urban Outfitters duvet product. Against Converse shoes using Hindu deity pictures on shoes. Against the use of Lakshmi and Ganesha symbols on Gold Gambling slot machine. Against Amazon on for the use of Hindu deity pictures on leggings. And against Adidas Holi shoes. I don’t know what was so offending in case of the Adidas shoe called ‘Hu Holi’ with faded coloured canvass.


You must give to him for his efforts and consistency but with no organisational members does he represent Hindu or Hinduism. Its Facebook page updated until 2013 has less than 2000 people liking it. When the NewsMinute site says that Using religion to gain popularity and single-handedly making it a phenomenon is something that can be learnt from Rajan Zed. Or maybe, not. You tend to agree. Rajen Zed has properly positioned himself well enough to be heard and acted upon.


USofH is a nondenominational religious-philosophical-cultural-educational organisation ( wow) was established in 2011 headquartered in Reno, Nevada. Its objective Mission and Vision include providing worldwide Hindu identity, enhance understanding of Hinduism, spiritual renewal, and to foster interreligious dialogue along with having friendly relations with non-Hindu communities. That’s what the sketchily put website of USofH tells you.



Here are some screen grabs from the Ikea Australia Retail Yoga promo DVC in case Ikea really withdraws it completely. Throughout the clip, a woman is working out against a blue background. She is doing a guided yoga session and holds a specific yoga pose. When she does that, products similar to posture framework appear on one side of the screen. That’s it. Harmless.

I do not know what is offending in it?

I would like you to tell me if I am missing something and how is this offending?

One never knows with religious symbols what could trigger a backlash. It usually is something best to be avoided. However, that is escapism. Time we stop corporates to be held ransom to irrelevant objections from people who are trying to hijack representation.


I say so without help from Jack Daniel, Antiquity, Teachers or Old Monk.
Because only thought out open-eyed conscious decisions count.  



Sanjeev Kotnala is a senior marketing and business strategist and educator. He writes on MxMIndia every Wednesday. His views here are personal

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